Years and Days

May 2020 · 600 words · 3 minute read

It’s somewhat of a banal statement but the older I get the more I’m coming to believe that years are short and days are long. This is just a trite way of saying that my perception of time has changed as I’ve gotten older.

Days tend to be long because we’re stuck in the minute details of our own lives. We’re worried about getting the day to day tasks down that we need to live, we’re worried about paying the rent, worried about what we’re going to eat that day. We spend our days stuck in the nitty gritty detail of just living.

Years on the other hand, years are short precisely because we think they’re longer than they actually are. Think of the infamous “New Years Resolution”, that shared collective fantasy where we all sit down on the 1st of January with a hangover and figure out what we want to “accomplish” over the next year. Maybe we’ll lose weight, maybe we’ll write a novel, maybe we’ll buy a house. Who knows, they’re grand plans though.

So what happens when these grand plans butt into the harsh reality of the day to day requirements of everyday life? The grand plans get shelved. The novel doesn’t get written. We stay fat. We don’t spend as much time with our friends and family as we’d like. We’re awake at 2am procrastinating the internet and wondering why we feel so rubbish the next day.

This then is the paradox. The years are short because the days are so long.

They’re short because we spend so much of our time on the day to day experience of life that we don’t have any space for the “big things”.

Because we spend so much of our time on the day to day experience of just life we don’t have the energy, the willpower or the resources to change our lives in dramatic ways. The years seem to fly by as our perception of them is rooted in the day to day. We miss experiences, we procrastinate and come the 1st of January we look back and think about “what we could have done”.

I think I want to increase the time dedicated towards life and decrease the time dedicated towards life maintenance and procrastination. I want to make my limited number of years on this planet longer. I will die one day and that’s okay. It’s okay to acknowledge our temporary existence on this hurtling piece of space rock. But before that last breath happens I want to be able to look back on a life where I enjoyed myself and where I felt some semblance of meaning.

I want to decrease the amount of time I spend commuting, decrease the experience of any bullshit drama in my life and somehow get a hold of my procrastination. I want to write. I want to read. I want to think. I want to play. I want to travel. I want to challenge myself. I want to achieve goals. I want to be healthy. Ultimately, I want to be human to the full extent of the range of experiences that the label implies.

Memento Mori.