If you live ninety years that’s how many minutes your life will last.
Depending on our viewpoints, this can seem like a long time or not long at all.
Consider that every second ticks past without pause, as well as the fact, that despite all the downtime here on earth, there seems copious time for all we wish to do—sometimes too much.
Perhaps our experience of time is best illustrated in the prettiest of all planetary phenomena: the sunset.
The Experience of a Sunset
I used to walk in a locale I lived in, from home to the beach, just before sunset. I’d arrive at the beach to sit under a gazebo and just sip my drink—the sun one whole centimetre (in my view) from the horizon.
As I enjoyed the splendiferous hues spun free and clear out of the wispy clouds filtering the sun’s rays, I’d dream away into a contemplative world of many thoughts, vacillating to and fro over many fanciful concepts and images, both real and creatively invented.
Only forty-five minutes would elapse and, though the whole experience had come and gone, it truly felt like longer.
Yet, nothing will stop the sun and the earth’s rotation—sunsets occur quickly; the whole event highly visual. It’s the mind that fills the contours of the space-time continuum, producing for us both true and warped perceptions.
Life is Both Long and Short
We can’t rationalise whether life is long or short.
There are perceptions we gather along life’s path that attest to both according to their different eras. During good times and those busy seasons, time seems to fly. As we enter times of great pain, time slows, and hell appears to be the living destination reached, with no hope of return to the genteel life as it was. Yet it does return, eventually.
Then there is normal, average, everyday life, that flows and ebbs much as we’d expect it to... but those seconds are waiting for none of us.
Whatever we do with our forty-seven-odd million minutes (or 788,940 hours or 32,873 days) we can reckon it a fair stint.
Even when someone dies at half the journey or less (and due regard and sympathies are offered to those families who’ve lost these as they read this) there is a substantial amount of life lived. Many experiences are added and exponential thoughts and feelings had.
And the point?
Just this: life is what it is. It cannot be grasped longer than the provisionally breathed second. Yet, as we look back there are compendiums of memory defying the day; life as it was, disappearing.
It pays to reflect over these things every once in a while. It helps us maintain perspective.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.