31 July 2008

time's winged chariot


I Googled "time" quotations and found there are dozens. We are obsessed with it and rightly so. This morning I found, and was reminded of, so many sharp and witty statements about the passage of time that I can't pick a favourite.

We frivolously waste our time until one day it dawns on us that our time is finite. It depends on our character but we either develop "ostrich syndrome" or face mortality by drawing a will, draft final letters of request and instruction and purge our lives of all unnecessary possessions and distractions.

By middle-age I had accepted I was never going to be an astronaut or an activist, a politician or a pole-vaulter, gregarious or dynamic, a leader or regulator. Then it became a race against time to achieve realistic short-term goals. I wrote my memoirs at age forty and recently added another decade's worth. Putting a life in order is a continuing task though not an endless one, as the Grim Reaper will doubtless call time before I am entirely ready.

I narrowed my interests to music, motorcycling, photography, writing and reading. There is no time for any more... but maybe there is. I rekindled my boyhood interest in astronomy and began researching serious telescopes. I love to catalogue but I don't have time to map the known universe. I would nonetheless like to see with my own eyes the light which left distant galaxies hundreds of millions of years ago. A telescope is poised delicately on the back-burner for now while I pursue an avid interest in Science-Fiction novels, a new offshoot interest which thieves more of my time.

It takes time to write a novel. Sooner or later I will make space in my schedule to expand one of my short stories because, well... because don't we all (the aspiring immortals among us anyway) want to leave a permanent mark behind? First I need to think of all the right words, then sift them into the right order and finally push myself boldly into the arena of rejection - the hard part.

Oh, and I nearly forgot genealogy, another time-consuming interest which has filled many a gigabyte on my hard drive. I have unearthed the names and brief details of over a thousand lives which took many centuries to live. Wouldn't it be amazing to talk to those long-dead souls and discover how they filled their time?

Never before has there been so much to worry about yet so much astonishing complacency. As we rush towards the Age of Aquarius, the Internet bombards us with conspiracy theories: 9/11, Roswell, the Jesus myth, GM crops, global warming, world domination, 2012, Kennedy, Bilderberg and on and on and on... They are probably all true and all inter-related.

It seems likely that later this century a New World Order will see a much depleted global population micro-chipped under the rule of a single planetary government. I can't do anything about that but despite trimming down, you see, I have too many diversions and not enough hours in the day.

Oh well...

After three months of running my times continue to fall. My favourite outing of 3.21 miles is down to 28 mins 55 secs. I ran a total distance of eighty-nine miles in July. The temperature stayed level at 28C (82F) but I forged ahead and ran every day. I think it is time I started writing every day too, while there is still time.

"But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near."

To His Coy Mistress
Andrew Marvell
1621-1678

8 comments:

fathorse said...

It dawned on me that my time is finite a looooong time ago... and yet, for some reason, I continue to frivolously waste...

meh, isn't that what life's for?

I like the sound of that: "frivolous waste"...yoink!

I am DEFINITELY going to be a pole-vaulter or a rock star.

Perfect Virgo said...

Fatty - I remember discovering mortality in my teens and being very scared. However I didn't twig how really real it was until much later and then somehow it didn't seem so bad.

Good luck with the pole vaulting. I definitely see you as a star of track and field. Care to join me on a 6 mile run? BTW, I chafed a little yesterday in the name of effort.

Michelle said...

I'm running too. I get involved in too many projects and end up scattering my energy too far to do any one thing properly. I think I do it because I don't want to be still and know.

Perfect Virgo said...

Michelle - I saw you running a bath, does that count? :)

An enquiring mind will always look for new pursuits. I guess the trick is to identify which ones are worthwhile.

C.J. Duffy said...

"Time takes a cigarette, puts it in your mouth"

!

Perfect Virgo said...

CJ - great quote! ZS&tSfM was the first album I ever bought.

fathorse said...

first and best. Wish I could say the same. I definitely don't own two boy zone albums. Absolutely not, no...

actually, technically those were given to me. Technically. So, technically speaking, the first album I ever bought was surrender by the Chemical Brothers, which is vastly cooler, but still something of an oddity when compared to the rest of my music collection...

*time, he flexes like a whore, falls wanking to the floor, his trick is you and me, boy*

dirty bastard...

Perfect Virgo said...

FH - yes definitely his best but your quote from Aladdin Sane (Ziggy goes to America as DB himself put it) reminded me how good that album is too.

Boy Zone! WTF? Tel me it ain't so!