Recent events had me recalling a memory from a long time ago. I was young, running erratically and turned the sharp corner where the bathroom door lay cracked open, bursting through the door in a state of panic. In my immature mind, I had come to the realization that people leave; they leave abruptly, with no warning or hesitation, without care for the string of events that had occurred immediately before their leaving. At an age no older than 6, I had come to terms with the concept of death, and although I didn’t really understand it, I was hung up on the idea that one day, people I love would leave me. I had been looking for my mother, for I had suddenly been overwhelmed with the immense fear that she would one day leave me too. I say leave in loose terms, of course, for is death really when someone leaves us? No, I don’t believe so.
I was crying, and began telling her that I didn’t want her to die. She told me not to worry, for we have all the time in the world. Since I have gotten older, I have realized many things in life. For one, I have realized that in my childish state of mind she may have thought it was easier to tell me that running out of time is far off in the distance of my life. Now this answer simply does not suffice. Buddha once said “the trouble is you think you have time”, and I simply could not agree any more. Our lives are a blip on Time’s radar, if that. I have realized that there are so many things that I want to do and see in this lifespan, and it is a very real fear that I will run out of time to see the far expanses of the world and meet the people who are so ethereally beautiful and different from me. My question is: How do we combat this fear and turn it into something to inspire us?
My answer to this question isn’t simple, nor easy. It is to come to the realization that these things do in fact end, and one day perhaps time will actually run out on us. But it is this realization that has the power to inspire an individual on an incredibly deep level. It has the power to instill in someone the motivation to take advantage of all that this life has to offer. We have been gifted with natural beauty, and the most unusual pleasures of life. It is these gifts, the sound of my sister’s laughter, the feeling I get when my car pulls into the drive and I know I’ve made it home, that make my existence meaningful. It is our job to savor these gifts, to engrain them in our memory so that we can always have them with us, and to find the meaning and beauty that exists in this world. By having these experiences, and engraining them to memory, we can ensure that these memories are immortal. Memory can insure that time, at least for now, will not run out.
To quote the lovely words of Michael Ondaatje, “We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into and as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves.” Perhaps it is our job to maintain these meaningful experiences and share them with our loved ones, the ones who we just know, and maybe even those who we don’t know at all. Perhaps it is our plight to go on these journeys ourselves, and once we return, and have scoured the Earth for all it and its magnificent people have to offer, it is our job to encourage others to share the same journey, and perhaps this will continue for generations to come.
So does time actually run out? No, perhaps not.