Friday, July 3, 2009

Ten Light Years Away -- Writer's Poke #245

The past is farther away than the nearest star. We reach for it with our memories, but like a pawn in a game of chess, we can never move backwards.

How does one measure ten years? A decade is such a short period of time, and yet as I look back ten years, I make startling discoveries. Ten years ago, I wasn't married. Ten years ago, I had lived in the same state my entire life. Ten years ago, I had never made more than $20,000 in a year.

When we look at the stars, we see them from the perspective of the Earth, as though where we are in the universe is the center, and the stars are on the periphery. Likewise, when we look to the past, we assume that the present moment is the place we start when measuring distances of time.

With each passing day, we have the opportunity to achieve more. But paradoxically, the more we achieve, the less satisfied we may become. Achievement becomes a burden that some cannot escape, and the longing for a simpler time draws us back to the past. We may or may not acknolwedge that the past was just as complicated as our present reality, but the inability to travel back to test that theory keeps its enchantment alive.

Compare your life now to your life ten years ago. How has it changed? When were you more happy, content, or satisfied with your life? Why?

"Time is the longest distance between two places." -- Tennessee Williams


  1. I'd argue that the older you get, the less of an impact 10 years would make.

  2. Well, I think I'd agree with you if the human lifespan were, say, a million years.

    But, since the average lifespan is just 70 years or so, you only have seven decades to work with. Each is equally valuable, and the passing of a decade is a significant milestone in your existence, at whatever age you are...