On The Passing of Time

*Photo by Molly Mckew

This year starts to lose steam. As with every year before, the time between Christmas and New Years is a blank vacuous space. A day-less, date-less expanse where I attempt to make plans but fight diminishing energy levels and low motivation and a lethargic food-induced stupor that pins me to the couch, the bed, the grassy knoll.

Someone recently described this time period as the perineum of the year, a succinct but all too graphic description that fails to take in to account the fear and self-doubt and sheer terror that the passage of time brings on. Humans invented time, codified it, tied it neatly into little boxes that fit in to the rows and columns of a million calendars. We adorned these calendars with images of cute animals and sexy firefighters and Leunig cartoons, little realising that in the codification of time we had crafted our own fate. Now we mark the aging of our bodies by ticking off the years, posting snapshot photos of our decline to social media and signposting the major world events in retrospect: there the year man walked the moon, here the year we struggled through a global pandemic.

Underneath it all lurks the hidden fear that this could be the year we cark it, this could be the year the planet descends in to the sun, this could be the year we alienate our friendship group one off-colour remark at a time. Alternatively, this could be the year we learn to better ourselves, or start taking time to exercise or battle off the impending climate crisis, but these thoughts are all too positive during this, the perineum of the year.

I find my lowest point of the year is generally around my birthday, due to some quirk of existential angst. I know I know, it’s just another number, but somehow this number directly relates to me and while I can handle the way my body changes over the years (goodbye hair circa age 17, hello back pain circa age 22), the idea of this hidden number that clicks away each year that we rotate the sun irks me. It’s an arbitrary number of course, created by capricious humans, to make some sense of this erratic universe. If I had been born on Mars then I would be turning seventeen this year. I like to think that each time I hit a new decade I might move one planet farther away from the sun and reset the clock. Pluto, although not a planet, revolves the sun once every 248 Earth years, so in some happy sense of the situation all humans are still infants, destined to live out our sole fraction of a year in sheer ignorance of the wider universe.

None of this, while making light of the situation, brings any more light to the situation. For some reason I have worked myself (conditioned myself, found myself) in to this mindset of battling with the passage of time. Getting older scares me. Which means that even in this year that everything got put on hold (music career, friendships, ability to travel), the one thing that has carried through is this enduring fear of the future, not for what it is or could be, but for what it represents, an arbitrary number that humans invented.

I’ve learnt (am learning, will learn) to deal with this, not by grappling with the large existential questions ala ‘what is time’ and ‘why has random chance brought this collection of cells into existence just to spend all of its lonely life grappling with existential questions’, but by neatly ignoring the issues as much as possible. When the mindless hamster wheel finally rears its ugly head, generally around the turn of the year, or my birthday in February, my coping mechanism is to swiftly plan as much of the future as possible. A busy me is a happy me, and a happy me doesn’t have much time to think about the bigger issues.

Happy New Year friends! Hope this is a positive one.

I finish this year with Episode 17 of FWF. I’m going to take a break from these videos for a little bit, mainly because i’m recording an album! Lots more info to come on that in the near future, but feel free to go back and watch four months worth of weekly videos on my Youtube channel. 😉

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