Monday, June 04, 2007

Birthday Manifesto 2000

In 1997, I wrote my first birthday manifesto, an epistle I sent out in a mass email on my birthday. I continued the tradition for a number of years until life got too busy (READ: lazy) to compose new ones. For those of you who did not have the pleasure of knowing me in those days or the privilege of being in my address book, I am posting them here, not necessarily in order.

This particular one, from 2000, received the most vocal and appreciative responses. Friends said it helped jar their perspective a bit, enough to regroup and pursue their goals with renewed purpose and vinegar- um, vigor.

Well, the year 2000 has come. I remember thinking years ago, "Man, I'm going to turn 21 in the year 2000." It seemed so far away, so foreign. What was once the future is now here, and will soon be past. Time is a funny thing, it can seem to resist our wishes to just move along or it can slip through our fingers in blatant disregard of our need for it to slow down and give us pause for rest. Sometimes though, things are simply perfect. But that passes, too. As human beings, we are fickle, and the world changes around us. This is not pessimism, it is fact. So we must learn to deal with it.

I once made a sign that I posted on my desk to motivate me to work when I was slacking off or got distracted. It said, "Lost seconds count." It was meant to remind me that as a conscious entity, I am aware of the passage of time, on a scale of seconds to years. I can count seconds as they pass by. One, two, three, four... These very seconds can be spent working productively or they can be wastefully squandered. Whichever seconds I spend "playing" are lost forever, I never again have the opportunity to spend them more wisely. These lost seconds count as part of the sum total of my allotted time on this planet (before they call me back to my home planet). I can't disqualify them and say, "Those don't count, I didn't mean them. Let me do them over." The sign worked. I would look at it, realize how foolish wasted seconds are, and get back to work. What was once future is now here, and will soon be past. What is now future will soon be here...

There are intrinsic elements to my life now that I could not have possibly imagined in the past. That is another property of time and our place in it: we only know the past (one would hope), occasionally the present, but never the future. The future will bring what you make of it, what you make for yourself, with an added dose of FATE thrown in for good measure. I see people I know and care about get frustrated by the pace of their lives, saddened at the absence of certain things that they feel should have been achieved, granted, or found by now. To these people I say, there is a "before", a "during", and an "after", nothing else. If you are at the "before" part of your life, there will be a "during". It will come. It just hasn't yet. If it is not yet to be, there is nothing you can do about it. But if it will be, it will be. Effect change when you can, but accept when you cannot.

Patience is a virtue. It is an elevation past the base state of "I want it now, it's not fair." You can't change the passage of time, but you can change your perception of it. The old adage, "A watched pot never boils" comes to mind, as does "Time flies when you're having fun." When you can relax and let go of your need for a premature future, things happen smoothly. They happen in what feels to be (because it actually is) their right time. Things have a tendency to fall into place with a perfection that can't be anything but divine.

What is now future will soon be here...

Which brings me to the closing.
Thank you, everyone, for your love, your friendship, your support, help, and good wishes.
Zei gezunt.

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