What is it about time that holds us so enthralled? Is it the fact that it is so hard to define or that we are so helpless in the face of its relentless march? Einstein’s Special Relativity notwithstanding, we mark time by the clock’s syncopated tick and tock but experience it in different ways: the ten seconds from the classroom to the principal’s office fly by so quickly yet the few minutes under her whistling cane drag on into eternity as if to let you download her wrath in full. Still we break down time into sizeable chunks and string them together again thus, seconds become minutes, minutes blend into hours and so forth till we come to years.
As I write this, 2017 has sprouted from the ashes of 2016 and as usual, the air is hot with resolutions and vice versa. Déjà vu, aptly describes this time as our ears and eyes are assailed by familiar lists of goals bearing close resemblance to similar assailants from January 2016. One peculiar aspect of a lot of these lists is that they are obsessed with achievements. They betray our inner fear, the fear of living an insignificant life. In an attempt to drown out the inner voice exultant in its whispers of what pathetic useless people we are, we strive to accumulate achievements or take the time to bore people with our statements of intention in case we should fail:
“Hey, I’m not pathetic and ineffectual! I know I haven’t achieved much but see, I’m trying!”
Before the overachievers of the world beat down my door in protest, I would like to say that there is nothing wrong with achievements but all the achievements in the world won’t drown out that voice. How many times have we seen the accomplished vanquished by feelings of inadequacy? How many wealthy homes have had their owners hanging from their rafters or lying in pools of their vomit? How many top students have felt so empty? If people at both extremes of achievement can be still be miserable, could it be that the sneering inner voice isn’t hushed by it?
We must look elsewhere for a gag good enough to silence it this year or next. Keep your lists, the only resolution I’m interested in is that of a DSLR camera. I’ve got to get me one of those. This year. I think I’ll write that down.