Back to the future

My next blog will be brought to you from… the future!

Delorean

Well, not exactly. I am currently in transit to the other side of planet earth, to Australia, to begin a new adventure and told my friends that the next time they see a news bulletin from me on one of my social media feeds, it would be from the future. Being between 11 hours ahead of GMT means that I can really begin to sample that famous FOX News cathphrase “before it’s history, it’s news”.

Our man-made measurement of time, or as I like to say ‘the passing of now’, has been turned on its head and used to divide us from each other. There is so much ‘time’ or earth time, or space-time (what it really is) but we have so little of it to do anything that we want and very little time for each other.

How often do you run out of earth-time/space-time to do the things you want to do? I know I do and I try to make the effort to be mindful, but it isn’t easy.

I have written about time a lot over the years, mainly because it fascinates me, particularly on my 27th birthday when I began to calculate how old I was by the hour and how I had spent each one. It was very sobering to see my life broken down into hours; rough estimates spent eating, sleeping, travelling, working etc. By the time I was 30 I looked at time differently again. But why do we call it space-time? I’ve generally always called it that and must put it down to my early experiences of sci-fi movies and TV shows but on closer reflection it makes perfect sense.

Consider for a moment what you do when you arrange to meet someone and what elements make up that meeting.

How did you do? You probably found that you went through a familiar process of selecting either a date or venue first (depending on which was most pressing/easy) followed by a time. Without these elements we would never meet anyone except by chance encounters.
We prefix the meet with a time and a space (place), one without the other would mean that we would forever miss each other. That is, say, to meet me at the Millennium Bridge might be suitable for us both, but without a time and date you would have to wait there until I showed up, assuming I hadn’t already been and left. The same goes for telling me you will meet me at 1100hrs. Without a place we would be lost in an endless loop of 11am’s, hoping to bump into each other – much like Matt Damon in the movie The Adjustment Bureau when he hopes to stumble across Emily Blunt’s character by riding the same bus, at the same time everyday.

I think I heard Terence McKenna talk about this first but it makes sense right?

When it comes to the subject of time it is full of paradoxes and open to interpretation. What will really bake your noodle is this; you can move through space at the speed of light but you can’t move through time at the same rate.

Remember, the only time you have to concern yourself with is now.

My first trip down under forced me to re-evaluate my perception and meaning of time, out there you could lay in the road in some places all day and not have to worry about being run over. I travelled to one town (if you can call it that) for 8 hours – my mate and I called it ‘the longest day’, and not see another vehicle or person (save for the odd road kill) the entire stretch. Life was set at a better pace, not the frantic rat race that we see everyday in the UK. Even the most idyllic areas of the UK are victim of this phenomenon I call manufactured time shortage.

It’s been a while since I spent a significant period of time in Oz, there’s possibility that the mood has changed and the constant whizzing around is a part of daily life in places outside of the major cities. We’ll see, but I like to think not.

I might be 11 hours ahead on the man-made measurement of time but will be right there with you where it counts, now.

Calm down doctor, fear comes later
Calm down doctor, fear comes later

Thin blue line

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It all seems limitless

A long, long busy day, taking pictures at a homes for people rally out in the cold. My train was delayed and I had to wait 20 minutes shivering on the freezing cold platform, but then something wonderful happened.

As I waited, a man in his 60’s came and stood on the platform along from me and he was shortly followed by a young girl, perhaps 20. We sat in silence together, I was busy reviewing some of my photos and looking at some information from the people I met today when I heard the lady ask the man if he had the train line app to see which train would get her to her destination the quickest. He said he did not have a smart phone and then went on to give her a comprehensive talk through which train would get in to which station, and at what time. It didn’t look like he worked for a train firm but his knowledge was spot on.

Although he did not have a smart phone he had something more valuable – experience.

They continued their conversation and traded stories about their day, their plans, hopes and dreams. We boarded the same coach on the train together and their conversation continued. I looked around and watched the train coach full of people sat in silence on their phones, earplugs in. The assumed position, hunched over squinting into a tiny box of lights after a long day, most likely looking at a computer screen, oblivious of the world around them – except for the man and woman who had struck up the conversation earlier on the train platform. Ironically, I felt the need to capture this ‘missed moment’ and wondered how many times a day we miss moments, however small, that may brighten our days up in an immeasurable way just because we wanted to catch up on the latest Facebook post from our friends, tweet from our favourite celebs or the sporting news? Was I missing my own moment by pulling out the camera? Before boarding the train, I found myself drawn to the Age Concern billboard ‘No one should have no one’, I thought on the train that it is entirely conceivable that the man on the train platform might not have spoken to another soul tonight until he returned to work tomorrow or wherever he came from this evening, except for the intervention for the young lady.With the technology at our disposal, we are both more connected and disconnected than at any time in our history.

How many single serving experiences are we missing every day? And yet it all seems limitless. It’s not. Life is finite and we should make the most of each moment now because we won’t get them again. Life is about our journey, not the destination. Enjoy it.