Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The time travelers

Time traveling.

They say that on Einstein's space/time continuum all reality is technically happening at once. The only reason you discern time passing is because you are moving along the line and are only consciously in one moment at a time. But the point (both the "you" and the surrounding reality) you are experiencing exists in its own right and has always, in fact, been there. It was there before your consciousness showed up and still exists after it passes through and the moment becomes a memory. Interesting, no?

Your birth, life and death are all simultaneously taking place, which makes it pretty hard to erect a good argument either against pre-destination or in favor of free will. If it gives you the heebeejeebees to think about it, don't argue with me about its existence -- it's Einstein's theory, so if you have issues, take it up with him. (although you will have to teleport back into the past to do it, since he's dead.)

Anyway, social media is, to me, becoming the new space time continuum. Through it, we can go through a kind of wormhole back into the realities of our past. The only question is whether or not you want to go back to that place you once inhabited, and whether the person you are now can still interact with all the people who knew you then.

Recently I was asked to join a group on Facebook from a job I had back in the 1980's. To call it a job is too small of a word -- it was my work, my life, my social calendar, my everything. Sometimes you are lucky and just find a place where you just effortlessly fit in completely, and coworkers become best friends to a point where you feel like you've known them in 56 past lives (which are also somewhere on the space-time continuum, I'd guess) and are just picking up where you all left off last time around.

I am here.

It's also a place you subconsciously know you'll knew never be able to come back to once you move on. Those things happen but once in a lifetime, and that's if you're really lucky.

Our ancestors were tethered to the land and therefore knew their neighbors and family members for their entire lives, for the most part, generation upon generation. Our modern society broke the mold on this, moving from place to place by jet, train and car.

But while our parents and grandparents left others behind and started fresh in new locales, thanks to social media, all the people you knew now go with you, inside your computer screen.  We are again becoming our own grandparents in terms of social ties, only now they are virtual ones.  We peer into the screen and see faces we once knew, hear jokes we know the punchlines to, but it all exists in a virtual reality, not our regular one.

 It's possible we've created a completely new kind of continuum and a new reality, for better or worse, where we exist in the present, yet also the past -- and just like in the real space-time continuum, all at the same time.

But I am also still here (front and center, fists raised, 1985)

But there's a kind of time travel fatigue that sets in when you spend to much time "back there" -- back in your shared pasts -- while at the same time a part of you doesn't want to be anywhere else but with these people, the ones who really get you. Or got you, back in the day.

It's a little like dragging yourself out of a good novel to face your regular life, except in this case the novel was your life

Maybe someone will come up with a better name for it, but for now I'm calling it virtual time travel sickness. It's not necessarily an unpleasant malady, but it's a mighty strange one. It seems fitting that in the final days of the year I'd be traveling back through time, as this is typically a time of reflection and pondering past and future.

If you're time traveling or even doing actual traveling in these days between the years, I hope that, like me, you're going back to good places.


  1. This is so interesting, and I completely agree with you. I recently had an interesting conversation about how people are no longer allowed to reinvent themselves, which is the first time that's the case. No matter what, your history is available and hundreds of historians about you are just a message away! Writing that out it sounds so paranoid, but it really is true.
    Old acquaintance cannot ever be forgotten, which isn't always ideal. Especially for me! Haha. Wishing you a happy new year!

    1. Oh my, you said it, that is SO true. I think mine was the last generation that could reinvent themselves if they wanted to. There might be photos, but there was no electronic trail the way there is today. Hope you have an awesome New Year, too! Here's to 2016 and reinvention whenever we need it!

  2. OH yes, I had one of those places that I worked for 34 years. The first 25 were great because we all loved the company & each other like family. As the company changed hands & the new owners started reducing the original workforce the dynamics changed so the last 8 or 9 years were emmotionaly draining on each of us. When I left last year there was only 1 or 2 of the original 'family' left. The good news is that our core group of about 20 are still friends & I have lunch or drinks with my closest ones on a fairly regular basis. At least once a year all (or almost all) of us get together usually for someones milestone birthday or end of year celebration. And yes, when that happens it's as if we've travelled back in time because we are all so at ease with one another.

  3. Pithy is the word that came to mind while reading your post. Actually, it pretty much describes all the posts I had read since finding you, through Stephen, I believe. Pithiness in all its glory. I think you and Stephen share this trait. I love the way your minds works. Thank you and cheers, Ardith