Sunday, February 15, 2009
Ordinary Time Travel
I used to think that time travel was something you did by getting into a little machine like they do in science fiction stories. But now I realize that time travel is quite ordinary. We are actually doing it all the time whether we realize it or not.
I ran into an old friend last week. It could have been ten years (give-or-take-a-little) since I saw him last. We had crossed paths a few times since graduation. And to me it had seemed like it was going to be another such random meeting full of fun and shared dreams. But it was so different! Since we last met he has established a business, married and now has a child! Wow. The changes included a short haircut with some grey, and he seemed a little heavier and stressed (but still handsome).
My last memory of him was in the Art Institute of Chicago. We both just happened to be there at the same time. He said something like, “I’m in love. She is wonderful. I’m so happy.” And he was dancing and waving his arms as he spoke.
When I shared this memory with him last week at Whole Foods, his cheeks slackened and his jaw dropped. “Well, that must have been a long time ago,” he said as if he was dropping a heavy turd in my lap.
This is ordinary time travel. My experience of this person seemed to continue, seamlessly from a point in the past to that moment last week, like instant time travel. I was just unaware of all the points that happened in between these two moments for him.
Now the weird part, for me, is that at some point in the conversation he paused and said, “ You look exactly the same.”
And I said, “I am.” I really felt the same: light inside and full of dreams. And I felt a little sad about it (being the same). I admire people who are accomplishing goals and having families.
But, since I last saw this distant yet dear friend, I tapped into my passion for yoga. And this commitment to a dream has taken me on a path I could have never imagined, nor have begun to articulate that day many years ago at the Art Institute.
So I also sensed the flow of time within my own life.