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We should consider the idea that youth is not actually wasted on the young. That their dramas are no more grand than they should be. That their emotions make perfect sense, once you adjust for inflation. For someone going through adolescence, life feels epic and tragic simply because it is.
After so many years wondering what kind of person you were going to become one day, somewhere you forgot that this question actually has an answer, and that ‘one day’ will eventually arrive. If it hasn’t already.
Another part of you is already an old man, looking back on things. Waiting at the door for his granddaughter who’s trying to make her way home for a visit. You are two people still separated by an ocean of time, part of you bursting to talk about what you saw, part of you longing to tell you what it means.
As a kid you run around so fast, the world around you seems to stand still. A summer vacation can stretch on for an eternity. With each birthday we circle back and cross the same point around the sun. We wish each other 'many happy returns.' But soon you feel the circle begin to tighten, and you realize it’s a spiral, and you’re already halfway through...
Of all the different ways we reassure ourselves, the least comforting is this: it's already too late.
One day you’ll remember this moment, and it’ll mean something very different. Maybe you’ll cringe and laugh, or brim with pride, aching to return. Or notice some detail hidden in the scene, a future landmark making its first appearance or discreetly taking its final bow.
Strange how strong the instinct is, to see something incredible, and reach for a camera. As if to lend it some credibility, to prove that it's real, that 'I WAS HERE.
The past is a foreign country, and we're only tourists. We can't expect to understand the locals, or why they do what they do.
We like to think that every moment has potential, that there’s something transcendent hidden all around, that if you’d only stop to seize the day, you could hold onto it and carry it with you. But the truth is, most of life is forgotten instantly, almost as it’s happening. Chances are that even a day like today will slip through your fingers and dissolve into oblivion, washed clean by the tides.
We sketch monsters on the map because we find their presence comforting. They guard the edges of the abyss, and force us to look away; so we can live comfortably in the Known World, at least for a little while.
We take it for granted that life moves forward. But you move as a rower moves, facing backwards—you can see where you've been, but not where you're going. And your boat is steered by a younger version of you. It's hard not to wonder what life would be like facing the other way…
While you're in it, life seems epic. Fiery, tenuous, and unpredictable. But once you have some distance from it, everything seems to shrink, until it's almost out of focus. So you begin scanning your life looking for something interesting or beautiful. But all you see is ordinary people assembled in their tiny classrooms and workspaces, each of us moving around in little steps, like tokens on a game board.
With every click of the shutter, you're trying to press Pause on your life. If only so you can feel a little more comfortable moving on living in a world stuck on Play.