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Window

I found myself with some extra time today. I didn’t really like going for walks, but I convinced myself I don’t have anything better to do. Besides, I’ve been working hard and should relax. It was mid-afternoon and the weather was perfect, or at least how I like it. The temperature was warm, with a very high, thin layer of cloud cover that diffused the bright sunlight.

I came upon a park. It was a large grass field with a circular path around it and people from all walks of life. This park just so happened to sit on the top of a large hill. It was called “Reservoir Park,” probably because of the giant water tank fixed maybe 50 feet above the ground, giving life to thousands of houses below.

I started walking counter-clockwise around the park and noticed a familiar looking view. I’d never seen this particular view before, but I recognized it because it looked out over where I grew up. I stopped and stared out at the hill I grew up on. I used to venture into the woods and climb up a tree high enough so I could stare out into the future, unknowingly looking out to where I was standing today, into a mirror with no reflection. I tried to think about everything that’s happened between then and now, all the success, all the heartbreak, everything that’s gotten me to this point so far and changed me from who I was into who I am, but I couldn’t. Nothing came to mind.

From the outside I’d assume that this would be great cause for concern, or should at least worry me in some sense, but I wasn’t even aware that nothing came to mind (funny how minds work). I wasn’t void of memories, but I was remembering, only instead of thoughts coming to mind it was purely feelings coming to heart; the joy, the pain, the love, the longing. I stayed in that moment for quite some time, and after I began to continue my walk I realized I indeed have grown since a child staring out from the tree tops. Never once growing up did I assume I would end up so close to my original home (at least so far). I always had some lofty goal that I would be extremely successful in whatever I did and move far away to somewhere better, some mystical land, wherever that was. But that was before I came out of the woods and went out to live my life. It’s easy to dream when everything looks so open.

Possibly the most important growth that I have experienced is an emotional one. It may seem super simple for some, but I have always been a logical person, using reasoning, knowledge, and whatever else I could prove or validate in order to come to any conclusion. ‘Emotions’ have not been easy for me. I’d get happy and sad like everyone else, but I never got too attached to anything, and would never say, “I’ve got a feeling about this…” Emotions have more or less been a reaction or side effect, so for me a purely emotional response to something is quite amazing, awakening, and somewhat of a miracle. If I can simply look at a view and feel such a wide range and depth of emotions, then that’s amazing. What good are thoughts and circumstances if we don’t feel anything? Every time I asked myself “what do I want to do with my life?” I’ll come up with an answer, and then ask myself, “why?” I’ll do that a few times and it always boils down to something along the lines of “I want to feel happy, feel good, feel loved,” and a big part of that is making others feel loved as well.

I completed my circular walk and looked back across the park to where I stood saw the view, and I couldn’t see it anymore from where I was standing. The trees hid the view from the street, and I noticed if I hadn’t first chosen, logically, to go on this walk, then I would not have ever seen that view, that narrow window into the past. Of course it’s easy to see now, but how many other opportunities like this have I missed? In how many other ways am I still looking out from the trees, waiting to see a reflection?

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Speed of Thought

I don’t wanna sound like a wiseguy or anything, and I’m probably not the first to think of this, but I think I figured it out:

I think that how fast time moves is relative to how much you think. Like, the ‘speed of thought.’ Everything is relative (is viewed in a context), and basically you have to filter all of your experiences through your mind in order to even experience them, so from the inside looking out, the whole world is in your mind (“it’s all in your head”). If you’re stumped on a problem or worrying about something, time may pass very slowly whereas if you’re just having fun and just enjoying the moment, or to exaggerate, if you’re sleeping, then time will pass very rapidly. If you dream than you spend more time being asleep. Thinking more slows down time whereas simply reacting skips over time. People have said regarding crazy moments that “it was like slow motion. I never thought it was going to end.” And conversely there exists “driving hypnosis” where you end up at your destination in the blink of an eye because you are so used to taking the same route that you require zero thought to drive it. This line of thought leads to the creation of memories as what allows us to place ourselves in time. Without any memories, there is no time. Babies do not have memories, and thus have no concept of time (and aren’t really much alive yet, like, viva la vida etc…). And they are also really stupid. But on the other end of the spectrum you might have someone with Alzheimer’s who does not have the ability to create new memories, and is, although it’s painfully sad to say, pretty much already dead (from their point of view). So the next time you fall into routine, or order the same thing for lunch, or drive the same way home, or do the same activity with your friends, stop… and think about that. Make a memory.

 

EDIT (3/16/14): I came across this video that has a much more informed position than my generalized curiosities. It’s a fun watch if you have a few minutes, however the title is a bit misleading…

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“You can turn the wheel all you want, but if you don’t step on the gas, you ain’t goin’ nowhere.”

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