Lately I've been thinking a lot about Ends of Eras in my life and in the world, about how human lives are sort of divided and subdivided by milestones and tragedies and the aftermaths of both of these things. When something BIG happens in life---whether it be a good thing or a bad thing---it throws a wrench into the way life currently exists and creates a new reality in its place. A new era.
Ends of Eras are both necessary and unavoidable: they happen with the passage of time, when somebody dies, when you fall in love, when you move from one place to another, when you get your heart broken, when you lose a job or get a new one, when babies are born, when you graduate, when you lose old friends or get new ones, when the seasons change, etc. etc. Technically, every day is kind of the End of an Era because it's another day that has passed that we'll never experience again, but we only notice big changes.
When I started brainstorming this post (like 4 months ago), I made a cluster diagram to try to figure out where I wanted to go with it, but it ended up getting a little bit out of control wild style:
Everything in my little End of Eras series circles back to the theme of the passage of time, because that's the nature and cause of Eras in general, and certainly of the Ends of them.
In the amazing The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe articulates something important:
"You can’t go any faster than that. You can’t through sheer speed overcome the lag. We are all of us doomed to spend our lives watching a movie of our lives — we are always acting on what has just finished happening. It happened at least 1/30th of a second ago. We think we’re in the present, but we aren’t. The present we know is only a movie of the past, and we will never be able to control the present through ordinary means."This is something that used to haunt me late at night: you can never live in the present. Everything we do is "past," everything is already over, our very lives. It's deceptively depressing when you think about it at first, but it's actually sort of the most empowering thing in the world. It took me the better part of twenty years to realize that things that are past are actually PAST because I've always spent so much time dwelling on stuff that has already happened when I could've embraced the past as a comfort: knowing that it was done and over, I could move on and literally do/be whatever I wanted. So that's what I'm trying to do now: not dwell so much.
Stay tuned for End of an Era: Part 1, sometime later this week. And thanks for reading, as always.
Si vis pacem, para bellum.