Saturday, July 26, 2008

Time Takes Awhile

I know it's just been because I've had little to do these past few days, but time has just been going along at a snail's pace. It's a little annoying, especially since I'm more or less just stuck waiting for August when my friends will start arriving in town. I would like the next week to pass quickly, but that does not look likely.

When I'm bored, I often find really unconventional ways to occupy my time. I can doodle a really large, elaborate, radial pattern for over an hour (and throw it away when I'm done), or create a massive spreadsheet on my computer tracking the voting patterns of all the past contestants of Survivor (yep, that's how big of a bored nerd I am). I mean, only so much time can be taken up by reading, writing, prayer, video games, phone calls, and instant messages. Therefore, my somewhat-crazy "bored activities" are a bit of a necessity.

Well, the other day my "bored activity" was to plan out the rest of my life. I know, that's stupid. Lives are pretty much impossible to plan. I did it anyway, though. It was an exercise in imagination. I purposefully chose to make my life mundane... I don't mean boring, necessarily. I just mean "not famous" (as opposed to my earlier post about my glamorous ambitions). I decided to die at the modest age of 72 (mainly because I like the evenness of the number 2060... it just seems like a good year to end on). So, on one side of the page I wrote a list of every year between 2008 and 2060. On the other side of the page, next to each year, I wrote little facts about what I would do that year... where I would be going to school, where I would be working, where I would be living, where I could travel, etc.

What surprised me was how quickly I ran out of ideas, and how much life I still had yet to plan. I mean, 72 isn't that old, but I couldn't really come up with enough stuff to do between now and then. I think, at most, I came up with some fun ideas for graduate school, two high schools I could work at, and eventually a university where I could be a professor. One would think that being a university professor would be an ultimate goal; I mean, any further and my aspirations could start to take the "famous" bent that I had been denying. But I simply couldn't imagine working at one place for a period of 20 years or more. It just didn't make sense to me. No matter how great it was, eventually it would just be "same old, same old." It was at this point that I couldn't understand how my mother had worked her job as an elementary art teacher for 25 years. I would just get so bored.

Perhaps it's just because my whole life, to this point, has been such a broken exercise in time. Everything has been segmented very neatly into concise four-to-five-year periods: elementary school, middle school, high school, college, etc. And it's scary to think that I was pretty much sick of high school after four years. I wanted to move on. I'm pretty sure at the end of college I'll feel the same way. So, will it be possible for me to feel happy at one job or in one town for the usual 10 to 20 years? I'm not so sure.

I guess the passage of time is daunting. I know many people say that our time here is so short, and I'm sure when I really am 72 (Lord willing), I'll be catching myself, wondering where my whole life had gone. But right now, a few weeks seem like such a long time, and a year is forever. You can just get so much done in one year. I don't really understand how people can stay in one place their whole lives. Perhaps having children makes a difference; you can watch them develop and help them grow and let that overshadow whatever stagnation is going on in your life. Children aren't a guarantee for me, though (although I'm pretty sure that, eventually, I will adopt -- I planned to in 2025). For several years, at least, I will have to figure out how to best use my time, and I must keep God's glory at the forefront of that. Perhaps the best thing to do when it comes to reflecting on time (and our own futures) is to keep Luke 12:22-31 in mind and ready to go.

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