13 August 2017

On Temporality

Something that has been on my mind recently is temporality. I graduated from college back in December of 2014 and yet, nothing really seems that distinct about my life since then. From childhood to the end of my college career, there seems to be enough entropy throughout our lives that it keeps life interesting and entertaining. The college years especially, because that’s where most people experience a huge amount of change and (hopefully) growth.

So many memories were made over those years. I remember being a freshman and being nervous moving into my dorm room, my first time living away from home. The trials and tribulations of attending a rigorous University. My first college party. The excitement of turning 21 and being able to legally imbibe alcohol. The memories of popping champagne with the friends I made over 4 years on the steps of the main building on Notre Dame’s campus. Needless to say, it was a successful “college experience”. But, where do we go from there?

These thoughts around temporality first arose after I found myself unhappy at my first job after college. In college, while you may fall into a specific routine, every day is pretty different. Depending on the day, your classes are different. You may have a nightly commitment X days per week, etc. It’s just naturally different. Whereas in the professional world, I really just realized that each week was passing by and the days just melded together. It was hard telling days apart because everything just seemed the same. Wake up, go to the office, sit through meetings, write code, eat lunch, go home, repeat. Before you know it, a year has flown by in a heartbeat and it didn’t even feel like it. Throughout college, you have discrete markers for time passing, such as midterms and finals. These are shared markers for the passage of time. But they are non-deterministic once you escape that academic setting and its often dependent on others.

My older sister, Nneka, got married last June (2017) and that was when this thought of time passing hit me again. It seems like just yesterday me, her, and our other two siblings were fighting, laughing in the car, or playing with one another. It’s weird seeing her married (although my brother-in-law is amazing), because it is that signifier of, “We’re not kids anymore.” In my eyes, events like marriage, childbirth (for a married couple, anyways), and death are constant reminders of the passage of time. Marriage hit close to home because of family and it was a wakeup call that we’re not kids anymore. Childbirth because it’s a signifier of one’s family growing larger, in addition to seeing that growth of a child as a prominent indicator of time and a new beginning. And lastly/sadly, death because it serves as a marker of the end of someone’s time on this earth and the end of the ability to make new memories with said individual. All three of these things are constant reality checks in a young adult’s life to the passage of time and serve as infrequent reminders of time’s passage since the days seem to just blend together now.

Perhaps one can create their own markers of temporality by creating vivid memories through various experiences to bookmark that point in time, I’m not sure of that. What I do know is that our time on this earth is limited, so I think that we should do our best to make the most of it while we are still here.

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