The sounds of birds chirping make their way through my ajar window. An orange glow creeps along the wall, bringing the lights from the streets into my four corners. Garbage trucks trickle along the edge of the asphalt, cleaning up what was left behind. It’s 5 o’clock in the morning, but my mind isn’t running on GMT +3.
Time moves regardless if you follow. I was just playing a podcast (a small excerpt from some TED talk) about a man who created his own dictionary, writing down words to describe feelings that no one had ever put a name to before. One of them, I can’t remember what he called it, described the feeling of knowing you won’t see how history will turn out. The sweet, but bitter melancholy of living a life with an end, but leaving time behind before seeing the end of the story. While it provides the deep reverence and appreciation of what’s temporary, it also makes you feel a little like there’s a hole you can never fill, no matter how much you try.
And, that’s the thing about time. It will go on with or without you, and its limiting factor is what gives it its inherent importance.
I want to name the feeling of what it’s like to have to choose between opportunities in time and know that the path you take will be completely different because of that exact point in time. No, I’m not talking about opportunity cost or cause and effect. I’m talking about the kickoff and de-linearity of choice and then, the outcome that is in direct association with a single moment. But, that’s the thing about moments. You can’t pinpoint them once they pass even though that’s how they seem to be defined. It’s funny to see a definition of something that’s transient. A moment doesn’t really have a definition because it’s a “brief period of time,” and time is fluid. That’s like trying to define a section of water from a running tap; it’s always flowing and in motion, and therefore, ceases to exist the very moment it does.
How do you define the weaving and winding road of where fate should kick in, if fate exists? The cross-section of time and paths crossing that bring you to where you are, at any single point, but it’s impossible because a point doesn’t cross a plane without a line, and those lines are what makes up the moments of your life. It’s a lot like that cliched drawing of success. You know, this one….
I think you can just as easily substitute “life” where you see “success,” and the picture will stay the same. Except, of course, instead of an arrow on the right, you’d see an endpoint. Not to make this turn dark so quickly (as the light outside grows), but I often imagine versions of myself moving in different places and times – living the other trajectories of what could have been had I chosen something different (at any given moment).
Luckily, I never – well, nearly never – wish what could’ve been is, but yet, I still have these ideas of my parallel universe, running in different dimensions because of different decisions. There should be a word for that kind of wonder. Maybe there is.