Life in a Blink
Many of us think of time as a linear process, we have no way of talking about time except in terms of how we measure it, in ‘The Origin of the Universe’ by John D. Barrow there is a chapter entitled Time – An Even Briefer History, that explores a number of theoretical explanations of time, it is a bit mind-boggling to the lay reader such as me. To be honest the bookmark is still there at the point I gave up many years ago. It challenges our rock solid, clock sequence orientated understanding of what time is. To compound the difficulty of imagining time as something NOT sequential or linear, think of time as infinite. Try getting your head round ‘The Last Three Minutes’ by Paul Davies where he explains that infinite is not just a big number, it is something that is stupendously, unimaginably huge, time is infinite there was no beginning, there is no end. It makes the whole human existence to date look tiny, miniscule and then some let alone our individual lifetimes, we are but a jot, not even a footnote in history.
I find infinity scarey, it is literally too big a concept for me to hold in my head. We may live three score years and ten if we are lucky but it is a mere blink of an eye in the infinite universe of timelessness. It has been summed up quite nicely by Liam Boland;
“Life is a never-ending cycle of birth and death, while we have no control over either, unless of course we choose to end our own existence, barring this we have no control over either process!
However, we do have full control over the very brief span we have been granted, it’s up to you people what you choose to do, one thing is for sure if we could raise the dead and they had one piece of advice to give, I have no doubt it would fulfill your potential because it goes by in a blink!”. Liam Boland, Gladiatorial Conditioning, Dublin.
You only have to pause and take a peek in the mirror, yes I get to see a good looking hunk and you may not be so fortunate, but hold on, who is that guy really. How did I get to be 53, I never once imagined being 53. My parents are now in their seventies my dad is 77!!! I am a granddad, I have two beautiful daughters who will both be in their twenties soon, three-step children two over thirty. Lets stop there, how did this happen, where did the years, let alone months and days go. Well it is true time flies when you are having fun. I must have been having the most fun in the world then cause it all seems to have gone by in a blink as Liam said. A slightly obscure memory returns to me of using the blink as part of an analogy in one of my sociology classes years back, I was being a bit clever and remember using the question “how do you determine a wink from a blink?” I had just delivered this witticism as I turned to face the student with a nervous tic, yes you guessed it. Anyway, I do not have time to digress, no time at all. Just think of all the time you waste, it is part of your life you are putting in the bin. OK, we all need down time, some backstage time to rest and repair, but be careful this does not become the dominant theme, more rest than do.
We need to use our time as productively as possible. Until somebody actually returns from and proves without doubt the existence of the afterlife I will still see it as a Billy Bigallo Carousel experience, entertaining, fun but of no substance. Until the proof is there I will be working on the understanding that this is our one chance on the carousel of life. Can you hear the music?
We went to see this at Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House on May 5th, it was magical, especially after a great Haddock and Chips tea with Fentimans Ginger Beer to wash it down, we took my mum and dad as a belated Christmas present, a brief moment in time, enjoyed, sealed in the memory, there for infinity, or at least my blink of it. By the way Nash’s fish and chip restaurant is the bees knees but just have the normal size Haddock, do not go for the xtra large as I did, it is a WHOLE HADDOCK. blooming great stuff, but as I looked at my parents who loved the show, the food, the night out, I remembered the parents of my childhood, a feeling of sadness and joy passed over me as I saw how much they were enjoying themselves, a sweet and sour moment of the emotions if ever there was one. I wonder how many more wonderful moments like this I will have left with them? Because this is where the concept of time screws with our mind, time is two things not one, it is infinite and finite. We mere mortals face a race against time itself to max out on the good things in life whilst we can, three score years and ten seems like a lifetime, it seems like infinity when you are young but as time passes your position on the continuum of time moves inexorably towards the finite end.
Sorry if there is a depressing side to this exploration of what time is but the up side is fantastic. If we recognise our finite time in infinity we can make the most of every aspect of our lives. Time is not a straight line it is curved and wavey, try not to live life in a linear fashion, live life as it comes in a series of waves with corners we cannot see round until we travel the curve. Love your family, friends and training partners for the short time your times overlap, embrace all challenges and savour every nuance, when you do that a blink is a damn long time. Now to counter the slightly frightening aspect of time please watch the most brilliant clip I have discovered in years by Professor Philip Zombardo on the Secret Powers of Time and how we use it. Take 10 minutes of your finite time in this life and enjoy.