We race through life at a rate of one second per second, constantly picking up momentum as we go. Even if now, this present moment, is the most important time, it often doesn’t feel like it. We are all planning for the future, consulting the manual of experience that is our past, and trying to keep ourselves afloat among the shifting sands of the present.
Memory is unreliable. That song we remember listening to ages ago has inexplicably changed its lyrics, or perhaps even its title. That wonderful date that we remember with perfectly clarity was actually two, perhaps three. And our favorite film as a child has changed its narrative somehow, despite watching it a dozen times. Sometimes it seems all that is left are fragments. Obscure nouns which mark some event in the far-flung past. Blueberry pancakes. Band posters. Picnic baskets. Seagulls on the beach.
Each breath and the moment is gone. This one, stored on a faulty hard drive. The next one, queued up and ready to go.
Furthermore, with age comes wisdom, and wisdom is the result of experience. Experience grows us, but it has a nasty side effect. Each thing we learn lessens the intensity of what precedes it. We’re able to detect patterns and understand consequences to the point where we are eventually just standing beside ourselves, regulating when we can experience recommended doses of joy and sadness. We can no longer live in the moment like we once did because we invariably know approximately where each one will lead.
“Don’t get too excited” is the advice invariably told to us by people older than us, as if they are trying to protect us from the pain that will come with anything, ever. We listen, forgetting that no amount of emotion-guarding will ever save us from heartache, and only blinds us from the overwhelming positivity of life. Or maybe even at a young age we knew we would always be longing for something more.