One of These Days

September 1, 2008 at 5:52 pm | Posted in Life as I See It, Randomosities + Rubbish | 6 Comments
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‘The best thing about the future is that it only arrives a day at a time.’

I remember reading this somewhere ages ago (it was Abraham Lincoln who said it), and nodding and thinking to myself, ‘Yes, that’s true no doubt, but how boring.’

That was me being the highly dumb girl I was at fourteen, who used to think only thrill and speed amounted to an exciting life. Now that I am older and ahem, *clears throat* wiser, I do not agree with that speed-thrill-stuff philosophy at all.

In fact, I wholly appreciate the truth that future arrives a day at a time and that’s the best thing about it. I mean, what’s the fun in speeding down the road with everything passing by in a blur? That way, you’re always racing somewhere and in the end, you end up getting nowhere at all.

Still, it perturbs me to see the days passing by in a flash when I can’t get anything productive done. A feeling greatly aggravated when I get a book called Scientist Extraordinary: The Life and Scientific Work of Thomas Henry Huxley out of the library, and come across a passage like this:

…continued entries in Thoughts and Doings (Huxley’s little notebook in which he made irregular jottings when he was seventeen) bear witness:

June 20 [1841]
What have I done in the way of acquiring knowledge since January?
Projects begun:
1. German
2. Italian
3. To read Muller’s Physiology
4. To prepare for the matriculation examination at London University which requires knowledge of:-
(a) Algebra-Geometry
(b) Natural Philosophy …did not begin to read for this until April
(c) Chemistry
(d) Greek-Latin
(e) English History down to end of seventeenth century
(f) Ancient History
(g) English Grammar
5. To make copious notes of all things I read…I must adopt a fixed plan of studies…and let me remember this – that it is better to read a little and thoroughly, than cram a crude undigested mass into my head, though it be in great quantity.

…Bloody hell. I can’t imagine how anyone could be so assiduously brilliant.

To be honest, I think it is more inspiring than aggravating. Hmm, I can’t quite say that I would be able to study Greek, Latin and Italian simultaneously, with History, maths and chemistry thrown in (that would really drive anyone up the wall, unless they’re a genius like Huxley which is highly improbable).

My obsession for self-knowledge notwithstanding, it is high time that I got down to work, now that’s summer’s over and all. Wait, SUMMER’S GONE?!

…seriously, where did the last few months go? Oh dear, not Time again.
By the way, it turns out the evil thing is now sending me snide reminders and premonitions. I don’t know why, but ‘Time’ by Pink Floyd comes up every time on shuffle on WMP (Yes, I support Microsoft).

‘Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find
Ten years have got behind you,

No one told you where to run, you missed the starting gun’

And just I happened to be watching the rain when it came on today. On top of that, Anne Dillard goes out of her way to shout at me “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives” from top of the page of the big book of quotations in the morning.

I swear, the Universe is rubbing it in my face.

(Annie, that was certainly a bit of worrying advice. What, am I going to end up spending the rest of my life with my nose buried in a book, living off chips and irn bru, and writing pointless entires like this? Oh, now I’m seriously disconcerted!)

But, but, but at the end of the day, it’s only a day at a time. Phew. And there are so many days. There’s birthday, death day, graduation day, this-day and that-day. There are good days, okay-ish days and some truly terrible days. Our life is sent to us as presents wrapped in these twenty-four-hour-period boxes called ‘days’. All of us would rather the presents were only good, lovely and perfect. Well, hope as we might, that isn’t the case and from time to time a nasty present will turn up. Shocks, disappointments, failures, frustrations – all wrapped neatly with a big fat ribbon on them.

But, when it comes down to it, there’s always another present waiting for us the next day. =D

(Oh, and isn’t Huxley’s opinion on reading stuff just brill?)

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6 Comments »

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  1. well you have certainly made an effort in this one..yet the thing remains all of us want the good times to be slow and bad times to move as fast as possible and so hopefully thats why we have to face one day at a time as an average of the two

  2. Great thoughts, your words ring true though I struggle to hear the notes amidst the chaos of my mind.

  3. “I swear, the Universe is rubbing it in my face.”

    *snickers*

    Thanks for the read and comment. Your brain is much older than you are, I think.

  4. Nemesis: Aye, relativity again =D

    Dumakey: whoa! That analogy is poetic!

    Electronaut: Haha, thankee. Not so much older actually, it only likes to think that it is, most of the time ;-)

  5. Two thoughts:
    1) People in that century were so bored that they *had* to open a book from time to time. Still, I think the accomplishments of our time are worth any distraction. If you had the choice, would you prefer to live in a past era?
    2) What’s the story between you and Microsoft? :roll:

  6. 1) I think there’s a certain thread that runs through time, in the form of the quest for discovery. That’s humanity’s most distinguishing feature, isn’t it? It was there at humanity’s beginning, and it will continue to be for as long as we exist. When this thread ends, we end too.

    Like patterns embroidered on time, the nineteenth century and the twenty-first century, though miles apart are actually very much alike in essence. Any period of time is.

    But if living in the past means = reading more books, then yes, definitely I’d love to live in the past! Plus, I could get to meet awesome folks like Huxley and Newton and Copernicus and Mozart and Picasso and Wilde and Austen and Feynman and Freud and well, you get the idea. =]

    2) haha, I am well aware of your dislike for Microsoft :-D Is it because of their monopoly, the general standards of their products, their business tactics, or simply Vista? =P

    Whatever the reason, I don’t think they’re entirely bad. I mean come on, whatever it is, Microsoft was one big catalyst in the PC revolution, right? And to speak nothing of Gates. Yeah, he was the ruthless enfant terrible of the computer industry, but still… I support Microsoft more out of a sense of loyalty than anything. And the fact that MS Paint provided me with endless happy hours when I’d spend hours doing stupid drawings with horribly overbright colours and outrageous backgrounds and fonts :P.
    The first computer I got my hands on was running Microsoft. ‘Shutting down’ in those days was a big deal, it used to be such a fussy business! (It was a Windows 95, I think.)


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