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...
From Greek, Zeno is derived from Zeno's Paradox, which asks how a person can walk from one point to another if they must first carry out a series of ever-shrinking steps, + Mnemosyne, the personification of memory in Ancient Greek mythology. How can we live our lives while each passing year feels shorter than the year before?
It's actually just after you're born that life flashes before your eyes.
Entire aeons are lived in those first few months when you feel inseparable from the world itself, with nothing to do but watch it passing by.
At first, time is only felt vicariously, as something that happens to other people. You get used to living in the moment, because there's nowhere else to go. But soon enough, life begins to move, and you learn to move with it. And you take it for granted that you're a different person every year,
Upgraded with a different body...a different future. You run around so fast, the world around you seems to stand still. Until a summer vacation can stretch on for an eternity.
You feel time moving forward, learning its rhythm, but now and then it skips a beat, as if your birthday arrives one day earlier every year.
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: every kink in your day could easily warp the arc of your story. Because each year is worth a little less than the last. And 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. As more of your day repeats itself, you begin to cast off deadweight, and feel the steady pull toward your center of gravity, the ballast of memories you hold onto, until it all seems to move under its own inertia. So even when you sit still, it feels like you're running somewhere. And even if tomorrow you will run a little faster, and stretch your arms a little farther, you'll still feel the seconds slipping away as you drift around the bend.
Life is short. And life is long. But not in that order.