O.K. So I finally got around to writing about this.
Have you ever experienced running into an event or a moment, and know for sure it will be a permanent turning point in your life?
Like there is a continuous clockwork going “tick, tock, tick, tock” ever since you can remember… then something happens and the gears suddenly stop. A blink of an eye passes but it seems like an eternity… then gradually the gears turn again, only this time it runs in the opposite direction. And you know for certain that forever can happen, but you will always look back on that moment as as if it is a focal point, or that gravity has somehow shifted around it, or your forever has been defined.
I have NEVER experienced that. But if you have, then you know what this means:
“An instant or an eternity. Both are the same.
In the passing of an instant lies the beauty of eternity.”
– Ginen Shounen, manga, Gotou Junpei
That is why I’m reminded of this particular intellectual dilemma when I read the opening pages of Ginen Shounen.
It’s not a popular manga. The author has only written that one series. Most people who come across it wouldn’t think too much about the statement.
But for me, it’s a haunting notion.
I’ve always been thinking of life; whether it is better to live a short but eventful life, or a long and modestly peaceful one.
Til now I do not know the answer. Both seem equally noble.
But one thought disturbs me even more: Some people seem to live the rest of their long lives reliving a point in time or even a momentous incident.
Is time, or rather the passage of time, just an illusion then?
Sometimes an hour flies by like nothing, and a second stretched into eternity.
Years of your life can pass by and you can barely desribe what it was about.
Yet, a week of vacation with your loved ones, or a single day full of laughter with an interesting stranger, or even a few minutes witnessing a glorious sunrise…
these will stay with us until we cannot help but think about it in randomly unassuming times.
So, what is life really made of?
Do we spend our whole lives waiting for these moments?
If this is true, then our existence as humans is perpetually a sad one.
We are given the luxury of living in Earth, where the land and sea and skies are adjusted to suit our needs.
Where our choices matter, and experiences are abundant.
We will come from different races, backgrounds, environment, and lifestyles.
We will have unique persinalities, talents, and philosophies.
Yet, we will ask for more… we will end up confused and lacking direction.
Ultimately, we will wish for something that can define us.
A centrality that gives testament to our lives, and a mark to leave for the ones who will come after us.
We want to have that because without it… we will have lived our fleetingly temporary lives on earth like everyone else… an existence easily forgotten, while time and people move on..
I know people rarely admit or openly announce this desire, but the truth is that at some point everyone will be chasing for their life’s purpose or dreaming of chasing it.
People will say, “I hope I did something in my life”, as if there is only that one thing that mattered.
As if all their other experiences pale in comparison and are not even worth mentioning.
They will unconsciously look for meaning so that when their time’s up, they will leave the earth with the knowledge that they have done what needs be.
So we will patiently wait, wait, and wait to come across that opportunity.
In the meantime, we will indulge ourselves in the trivialties and standards of the world.
Until we lose hope of ever finding our purpose, or die without acheiving it.
But we are mistaken if we think that we should wait for those moments to happen:
“For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
The thing is, we know we can wait for tomorrow, so we tend to do that exactly.
But the reason we are given “free will” is for us to exercise it.
The questions I wrote above are still questions.
I do not claim to know full answers. So far, this is the only one I got.
It is NOT impossible to create those moments on your own.
Our lives MUST HAVE PURPOSE, yes…
but it should not be the only thing we are doing.
Life is too short to spend waiting… but even if you find your purpose, life is too long to spend on one thing alone.
There is too much to discover and to know in such a short span of time.
It should not be that we keep waiting for shining moments, rather we should make every moment shine.
“In the external scheme of things, shining moments are as brief as the twinkling of an eye,
yet such twinklings are what eternity is made of –
moments when we human beings can say “I love you,” “I’m proud of you,” “I forgive you,” “I’m grateful for you.”
That’s what eternity is made of: invisible imperishable good stuff.”
― Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things To Remember