• Elliott

Time & Perspective

Updated: Mar 7, 2020

This entry is a little self-reflective, and follows on from some points touched upon in my very first entry. Please, go and read that if you haven't already done so!

One thing I am noticing as I grow older (I'm the ripe old age of 25, practically ready to retire at this point) is that at a certain point, my brain decided that it was going to mentally root itself into a particular period in time and refuse to accept any other version of reality presented to it. What I mean by this is that in my head, the '90s were about, say, 15 years ago. 2010 was a couple of years ago, right? And it wasn't long since I started at University.

Nope. All wrong.

The '90s were now more than 20 years ago. 2010 was 10 years ago. I started my degree in 2013, which will be seven years ago in September. Hell, I'll have been at my current job for four years in September too. And yet, in my head I still mentally think of it as my "new" job, even though I've seen people join the company and leave in the time that I've been there.

Another thing I struggle to comprehend is when it comes to comparing my life against my parents'. My dad was 27 when I was born. That must mean that my mum was pregnant with me when my dad was 26, so I'm coming up to the age he was when I was born. I've always pictured my parents living a vast, entire lifetime before they had children - and yet - I've almost lived that amount of time myself now. I don't want kids at the moment, and honestly I don't think I ever will, but it's just an interesting comparison to make. I don't feel as old or as wise as I pictured my parents being when they were at this stage in their lives, but perhaps this comes down again to feeling like I'm a fake adult. Imposter syndrome. Maybe this will come over time.

My parents and people of their generation would discuss films, celebrities, music and events from their teens and early twenties, and, having no point of reference for said topics, I'd dismiss them as distant and irrelevant. They'd marvel at how they can't believe this song came out 30 years ago. But I'd think; this music is old - it's boring. That event was so long ago. But I've found myself doing this now, in reference to TV shows I watched as a kid, or my perspective of world events that occurred early in my life. There are people alive now who weren't born when 9/11 happened. There are people who didn't grow up watching the same shows that I did. There are people who weren't old enough to be mildly concerned that the prospect of the world ending in 2012. I'm realising that I am no longer the "youngest generation", and it's putting the generations of people before me into clearer perspective. Bands that were big in the '80s no longer seem like relics of a bygone age. I realise that I was born only 5 years after they were in the charts in some cases, and that's something I never really thought about before. Obviously I have no memories of being a baby, but to think that I was around so soon after what I had previously dismissed as ancient is interesting.

I think what it comes down to is that we apply a certain level of mysticism to events and times that we were not a part of. When it comes to our own experiences, we have memories and points of references that anchor us to them; and thus, the mystery is diminished. Part of growing older is understanding that everyone goes through this, and I think the shroud of the "distant past" before I was born or able to comprehend things is beginning to seem less distant and abstract.

We've entered a new decade. Ultimately, this is a trivial milestone - the world hasn't drastically changed since December of 2019 - but it nevertheless helps me to understand time, and how bookmark periods of time, and how we travel through it. A lot of music, TV and film that I enjoyed over the past few years was now last decade. And yet, in my mind, it will likely remain as a "recent event". And one day, I'll be talking with someone, marvelling at how we can't believe it's been so long since that film came out, or that the song we're listening to is 30 years old. And there'll be someone a lot younger than me listening to it, thinking, "this song is so old. It's boring".

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