To me (and my girlfriend as well, though she doesn't get quite as philosophical), this is one of the most mesmerizing subjects to talk about. Hell, sometimes it just completely fucks your mind up. I sometimes feel like I've lost place in the current flow of time and have gone back in it while thinking of the past, or I sometimes even lose all sense of time in general. I understand and accept that my life is moving on, and do still live for the moment, but I also miss a lot of what happened in the past. Not everything, of course, like me getting kicked out by my parents, or being beaten by other kids at school. But I miss a lot of other things, even the little bits, like building box forts. I haven't done that in ages, and I don't think I'd fit very well in the boxes anyway, not unless I shrunk myself by thinking of being small again.
It's odd how, as I get further along in my life, I feel like it's passing me by at a much faster pace than I originally presumed. When I was a toddler, I thought everything, including the world and the people in it, started when I was born. I thought I would never grow old, until I reached five years old. I realized I was aging, and I finally understood why everyone was reacting to me, saying, "my, you're getting so big!" At that point, I thought it would (metaphorically) take a real long time to reach the age of ten. It didn't. In fact, it felt like a few minutes passed by. Then I felt that surely it would take forever to reach the age of twenty. It didn't. Now it felt like that took a couple of years. Life is flashing by faster than I could have possibly imagined. I still can't comprehend why it moves so fast like this. In two seconds, my girlfriend and I will be living out in Iowa, married, and having kids (somehow). In another two, we'll be alone again, our kids will have moved out, having kids of their own, and our parents close to death. In another two, we'll be dead.
As I am aging, I find that I'm thinking more about this. I fear that it'll get so bad that my memories will be all that I remember. If not, I fear the possibility of dying, and living on more lives via resurrection in my memory, living my life over and over again.
As for the people I know, I'm thankful that I'm not the only one who feels this way. I'm not sure if I inspired her line of thinking or not, but my girlfriend and I talk about this sometimes. I've discussed it with my cousin lately as well. She gave the point of view of watching a child growing up, since she always used to watch me. I've got to admit, watching a future child of mine would be quite an experience. I have to wonder what my kid would be thinking and experiencing. I'm sure it's the same for them.
I'm definitely glad that I've been with my girlfriend for as long as we've been together, never separating. I will know her for the rest of my days. As for most of the other people that I've known in my life, that is not the case. I find it strange how I can know a person for one moment, and in the next, realize that I may never see them again throughout my whole life. Sometimes it makes me quite sad, even to the point where I cry a bit. Once again, I'm glad that's not the case with my girlfriend. I will love her for the rest of my days. However, I've known some great friends that I feel like I have now certainly lost for good, usually because they had to move away. I don't usually get upset about most of my former classmates from throughout my public school days, but I still have that strange feeling: I used to know you well and see you very often, and now you're gone away from me, possibly for the rest of my life. I have to wonder what they're thinking, feeling, and doing nowadays. I wonder how much has changed about each of them. We've just been out of school a couple of years, and they're already spreading like wildfire, some moving to states surrounding us, and even one I heard who moved across a few of them. Because of this, I doubt that I'll be hearing of them much anymore.
Speaking of my classmates, I'd like to just talk about them a bit. Not all of them were bullies to my girlfriend and I. In fact, most of the kids from early elementary school didn't mind us, and if anything, made fun of us out of pure jest, or because they didn't like us because we were nerds (we had a big group of nerds, which my girlfriend, a couple of friends and I started, and eventually grew to be a fairly large group) as opposed to being lesbians. Only the worst couple of them were nasty little buggers, and they eventually moved, and they never hurt us in a physical way. The ones who did pick on my girlfriend and I real bad were the newer kids from upper elementary/junior high on. The worst ones were obviously the ones who beat us. That rarely happened, and it only happened with some bigots who moved into the town, kids that not even most of the other bullies liked at all. They weren't punished (for a few months even) until the nicest teacher in the school finally saw very clear evidence that my girlfriend and I were beaten. Even then, all they got was a suspension for a week, which they liked, if anything, because they could just get to sit around and do whatever they wanted most of the time. The teacher tried to fight for a harder punishment, but to no avail. That's when the police got involved, and taught the kids a lesson in their own special way. That's when they stopped everything. We weren't picked on by anybody from that day forward, at least not like with them. In fact, the bigots were ordered not to even come near my girlfriend and I.
We were still ridiculed, but we were used to it by then. That was until a popular jock asked for us (the group of nerds) to help him with his homework after school. We didn't like jocks much, but the guy was actually decent, and we weren't assholes about it anyway, so we helped the guy. Not only that, we started playing games and stuff after we were done helping him. Not long after, his prep girlfriend broke up with him because she noticed he started talking to us, and he was telling her that we're not nearly as bad as other people made us out to be. Because of this, he became a member of the group, and would hang out with us until we all got out of high school. People ridiculed him as well, but not as badly as the rest of us, since he had a good reputation with the jocks as well, and still would hang out with them as well. We have talked to him a bit since then, but that was a couple of years ago, and we haven't seen or talked to him lately, and I doubt we ever will. He's basically one of those people I described above: those who you know well at one point, then at another, never talk to or even see again.
Besides people, places change as well, though not as much as people. That's what I like about them. Sometimes, I'll visit a place from my childhood, such as a park, and see that it's hardly changed, if at all. Every now and then, though, something does change. Ever since leaving the high school, my girlfriend and I noticed that it expended and tore down the playground we always played on during recess. That playground, to my understanding, had no problems with it whatsoever. All they wanted to do was add another gymnasium and cafeteria. They were fine with the ones that they had before, so I saw no point to it other than to waste taxpayer's money. That and my girlfriend and I can't experience a big part of our school time nostalgia anymore because of it. I remember when she and I got in trouble for making out behind the big slide. We didn't think we would be kissing much, but we got into it pretty quickly, and were spotted about half a minute later by our teacher. Most of the elementary school knew about it. Apparently, quite a few other kids saw us before the teacher did, and didn't care to report us. In fact, they moved on with whatever they were doing at the time. Goes to show that sometimes adults are overreacting, huh? Well, my girlfriend's parents certainly weren't. We continued making out at her place later that night. They could stop us at school, but they couldn't stop us elsewhere. :P
In general, though, it's crazy how much things can change within a short amount of time. I'm sure that, if you leave a town for several years and come back to it, you'll likely notice many changes, including where people are living now, and what's happened to them since you've left. I've got to say, though, that it's certainly refreshing to see that at least some things are kept the same, at least for a while.
In fact, this reminds of a couple of lyrics from a song in The Brave Little Toaster:
"Time flies by in the city of light
Time stands still in the country"
That makes me wonder if time is relative, if we, people, make time go by through progression and the idea of age. We think we're aging, thus we are. Alternatively, maybe time is flowing because we're doing something constantly, time progressing even if we lift a finger. I wonder, if everybody and everything (besides time) in the world/universe stopped, if time would stop right along with it. Silly ideas, I know, but they're fun to think about.
Anyway, moving on. Thankfully, we can capture moments on film now, whether it be on a picture or video camera. I only have one video (which was plastered over the movie Moonstruck, so every now and then, a bit of that movie pops) containing clips from various goings on in my life, encompasing my first day of school, a clip of me watching Mighty Moprhin' Power Rangers, playing with my dog (who is no longer around), and playing in my back yard (all in the same clip), using a plastic bat to play fake guitar along with a live Rush tape (A Show of Hands), a gymnastics session, and Christmas that year. It even has my girlfriend and my cousin in it. My cousin is in most of the clips, but my girlfriend is only in the gymnastics clip. In the video, you can see us hug and kiss for a quick little bit.
It feels odd watching it, though. I feel as if my past self died after the moments caught on film, and the film is the only evidence left. In fact, I feel as if my past self from even a nanosecond ago has already died (or is dying) as I'm typing this, and that my memory is my only proof. It's crazy thinking about how a camera can capture a single moment in time. It's like capturing time in a box and printing off, and that's the only way it can truly live on.
Otherwise, a nice idea would be is we could have a machine that can internally record our memories (maybe even our dreams) and pay them back to us any time. I'd love to see the time that I first met my girlfriend again. I'd love to go back to any time that the old school playground was still standing.
. . . Then again, after seeing the film Strange Days, I'm not sure if that's the best idea.
However, I don't encourage time travel. I'd rather not screw things up even if time travel was possible, which I don't think is the case, at least when it comes to going back into the past. If it was possible, I'm sure some asshole would've figured it out by now and could've used it to fuck up history. Maybe Adolf Hitler was from the future. Maybe that's what happened to the aliens at Area 51. Maybe that's what we evolve into in the future, or maybe they're a different species in general, who figured out how to travel through time, tested the machine, made a mistake, and ended up crashing. But I don't even think that kind of thing is possible. If two points of time can co-exist like that, then how do you explain the past still going it's course until the future, when that person in the future goes back? If that person went back in time and changed things, what would happen to the future then? Would it even be possible, if history changed then, that the man who went back in the future went back again if history changed? And what would really happen then? If the past changed after he went back, and he went back again in the future, wouldn't the past be changed even further? It really doesn't take much to change the future. I'm not into Chaos Theory, but I can understand even making someone stall for a second by bumping into them could have potential consequences. Also, how could the past, which did not previously feature the man from the future, feature him if it did not feature him before? If he's in the future, but not the past, how can it even be possible that he go back to it considering, if he were to arrive yesterday, he wasn't originally there yesterday? If we've already passed that point in time, there's no way to go back. It's all a great big paradox.
By the way, time traveling into the future is possible, but it involves preservation. That's really all it is. Otherwise, that's not possible, either.
I'll close with a quote that I've heard go around with jocks at my school, "Don't dwell on the past. Live for the future. Always think ahead." I agree nobody should live in the past, because if we did that, we'd have nothing else except for our early memories, and no new ones. The rest would be a shade of gray. However, I certainly don't want to live in the future, either. If anything, we need to think about our memories, because once a moment passes by, we can never physically go back to it again. Remember, the past is what got us to where we are in the first place.