Time, mysterious and intangible, is always flying. It might have started at a gentle stroll, but as as you get older it’s taking the Bullet Train and the scenery is starting to look blurry. Or maybe I just need to change my glasses prescription.
It seems like only last week I was getting rid of the stabilisers on the bike, whizzing joyfully round the garden as everyone cheered and waved. Actually it was only last week, and perhaps they weren’t so much cheering and waving as shouting ‘Get the f**k out of our garden you arsehole!’ while shaking their fists. My neighbours have no sense of humour, but I gave their kid his bike back and left them to it. Bloody spoilsports.
Although physicists don’t all agree that time actually exists, its passing can certainly be seen and felt. The finely honed physique and cat-like reflexes of my youth (think Bruce Lee meets Spiderman) are slowly succumbing to the passage of years and a fairly sedentary lifestyle. These days I hoist myself from the sofa with a mini-crane, helpfully provided by the housing association, and shuffle comically to the kitchen like a crab, my hips snapping, crackling and popping like a certain breakfast cereal.
I thought of trying Yoga, but I have a severe allergy to anything slightly new age or a bit woo, and become red in the face and inexplicably furious at the mere mention of chakras. I once accidentally wandered into a convention of homeopaths and became so enraged I tried to kill them all with the power of my disdain (my only super-power sadly)
I think it was the great philosopher Plato who said ‘Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana’. Wise words indeed, but we’d all surely love to find a way to slow it down, at least a little. Many resort to drastic measures – surgery and botox, Himalayan yak’s earwax or even a full body transplant. The latter, once the stuff of science fiction and trashy horror movies, looks set to become a reality. If successful this will create a huge demand for young, athletic bodies for the ageing rich. Fit and healthy twenty-somethings may find themselves being hunted down by elderly, Ferrari-driving Frankensteins with tranquiliser guns, looking for some body to love.
Perhaps one day soon, science will create a pill that slows or even stops the body’s clock altogether. People may live for hundreds of years, giving them enough time to learn several musical instruments, converse in fluent Icelandic or finally watch the whole boxset of The Wire.
The time I spent writing this could of course have been used more wisely. I could have volunteered to help the homeless, tackled the 97 items on my To Do list, or re-arranged my collection of 70s plastic take-away cutlery. Each moment of our lives is filled with such choices – do I do the things that are most important, most urgent, or simply most pleasurable?
The age of immediate gratification is well upon us and the opportunities for wasting time are now almost as limitless as the hairs on all the cats on Youtube, which is by my calculations a number so large that it can barely be grasped by the human mind. I shall call it a cataplex, which is much bigger than a googolplex. Possibly.
Ok, I’ve taken up enough of your time, I’ll leave you with this apt quote, often attributed to Goethe:
‘Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting over lost days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;
What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.’
The next time you’re watching those cat videos, remember these words, then boldly stick the kettle on, there’s always time for another cuppa.
Copyright J.Lennick 2015 All rights reserved.
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