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.


Anonymous said...

No sooner had I written a blog post making fun of Facebook, that I was contacted by two lost friends from two decades who I'd lost contact with and had tried in vain to find, and one who I'd lost contact with who I didn't think would want to talk to me if found (and, to be honest, I wouldn't blame her if she didn't, and plan on apologizing for some things when we manage to meet up in person). In addition to renewed friendship and apparent forgiveness, I find myself suddenly reconnected to a period of my life which I've been largely cut off from except in my own mind. So, I can really relate to your talk of time travel, though grateful that I'm wiser than I was then (I often think that it might be nice to have a twenty year-old body again, which I'd treat far better than the last time I had one--but only if I could hold on to my much calmer, more centered soon to be 43 year old brain....)

elderyogini said...

Perhaps because we can connect with our past in new ways via social networks...time is shifting...the past is contained in the present, and the kernel of the future is "now" too. I have reconnected with friends I haven't seen nor heard from in 35 years!!! on FB.

One of them actually found and posted a photo of me in the Mater Dei High School Yoga Club - check it out: 1971!!!!

One old buddy actually called and we chatted for an hour and a half. It felt as if no time at all had passed and yet we'd both been through so much joy and sorrow, raised a couple of kids, married, several different career paths...

Dr Jay, FB is funny - stupid - biggest-waste-of-time - but it's also SOME TIMES - as most relationships - supportive, loving, insightful and just FUN.

I DID enjoy your fun with FB...what's life for if not laughing?

Linda-Sama said...

I have a very fluid sense of time -- I can't remember if things took place last year or a few years ago. but it's not like a memory thing, it's different. it's like the longer I practice yoga my own sense of time has shifted from form to formlessness. It's hard to explain! It's just more fluid!

R V said...

A great depiction of time travel. We all want to change some thing or the other in our life and wish if we could have a time machine to correct all the mistakes we have done in the past. The way you have presented the time travel is totally unique and truly awesome. There are always different ways of looking at the same thing. Its your opinion and understanding which is more important rather than going by the predefined rules and thoughts