As the sand in the hourglass trickles down at a constant rate, how do you approach life?
As the saying goes, “time flies when you’re having fun”, but in reality it counts away at the same rate it always has. It is the perception of time that changes. This can be a result of how much in the present moment you are or if your mind is focusing more on some time in the past or future.
Following on from last week’s article on expectations, a lot of years can go by living by someone else’s expectations or torturing yourself over your own. Time flies whether you are having fun or not, so why not enjoy the most out of life. I don’t say this flippantly, I know perfectly well the horrors afflicting people, I’m not naïve and ignorant to that. I say it in spite of that. It amazes me how, frequently, but not always, people who have lived horrific circumstances will have a tremendous outlook on life.
It might seem strange that someone as young as I am (31) is already talking about time going by, I’m certainly nowhere near the ages of Lionel or Jean from the British Sitcom the title is named after (side note: it was funny seeing them square off against one another in the Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies”). I was watching a recent TV piece on the life of former Australian cricket captain and legendary Channel 9 commentator, Bill Lawry, and it got my reminiscing my childhood obsession of cricket and listening to the likes of Bill, Tony (Grieg) and Richie (Benaud). It brought back a range of emotions and memories.
That’s the thing with nostalgia, a bit of it is relatively harmless and if anything it can be a good thing evoking fun and shared experiences. However, when the longing for a past period and melancholy set in, this can become a real problem. Melancholia was actually the original term for depression (technically it is still involved, but more as a subtype of depression in modern parlance) and it is easy to see how a wistfulness for how things once were could lead to depression. Sometimes we can have a bit too much of a rose-coloured glasses mentality when it comes to nostalgia, and I say this as someone who loves looking back in reverence.
My main takeaway from this is that I wish for you to take the Nietzschean perspective in this regard, to embrace life, run towards it and accept ALL that it has to offer. Utilise the Stoic principle of “Memento Mori” – the inevitability of death – to help facilitate this process of undertaking life in all her glory. No one really knows when their time is up, aim for a quality of life, a good life, more than a long one. Or, as Seneca put it, “As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.”