Past, Present, & Future (Time) | Teen Ink

Past, Present, & Future (Time)

August 24, 2018
By nataliedc12 PLATINUM, Crafton, Pennsylvania
nataliedc12 PLATINUM, Crafton, Pennsylvania
42 articles 7 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If nobody is listening, am I making any sound at all?" ~ Alice Oseman

Time. What a strange concept. It’s one of man’s greatest self-constraints in which it limits us to some certain deadline when, really, time is an illusion. It was humans who invented time yet Time seems to have a hold over us all, as if it invented us. Think about it. We slave our lives away to Time, to our alarms, our reminders, our clocks and phones. We use Time as an excuse to get things done and Time as an excuse not to get things done. Without Time, there would be no deadlines. No curfews, no dates to meet, no appointments. Nothing. We’d have no reason not to skip school for the entire year, no reason not to come into work today or tomorrow or the next day, no reason not to go to that doctor’s appointment on Tuesday afternoon. Yet, we would have reasons not to do those things. We go to school to learn. We work to provide for ourselves and our families. And we go to the doctor or dentist to take care of ourselves. So, as much as a world without Time would seem chaotic and unruly, we would still have reasons to do our everyday things, we just would have more freedom in doing what we do.

So that’s it. Time is irrelevant and we should just live as if Time doesn’t exist or matter.

But is it all that simple?

In order to answer that question, we must look at the different facets of Time: Past, Present, and Future.

Let’s start with the Past, as that is where most – or all – things begin. The Past is where our inner child lives. It’s when every day seemed like it didn’t matter. A haze of sounds and sights and smells and laughs and kisses and hugs and fights and “sorry”s and…well, everything that shapes who we are today. If not for the Past, we wouldn’t have a slight obsession to this certain food, ordering it whenever we go to this certain place to eat. We wouldn’t have that certain habit of tugging our ears when we’re nervous or shuffling our feet when we feel awkward. We wouldn’t follow the people we follow on social media or laugh at the same jokes that our friends make or decorate our living spaces the same way or be ourselves in any way, shape or form. Because, who we are is shaped by our Past and the Past has shaped who we are. Nevermind the time you tripped over your feet at lunch that one day at school and spilled soup all over your new sweater in front of the whole school. Nevermind that heart-wrenching conversation you had with a loved one. Nevermind the hard breakups, the crying, the screaming, the yelling, the fighting. That’s what you’re telling yourself, isn’t it? That the bad parts don’t matter and that you should only focus on the good parts of the Past. But really, that strategy is unhealthy. Because, if you try to make yourself forget any parts of your Past – the good or the bad – then you’re taking away something that could potentially end up shaping you in a big way. You shouldn’t dwell or live only in the Past, but don’t forget what happens – or rather happened – there either. The important thing to remember, though, is that – no matter what – the Past will always stay in the Past.

On to the Present. The Now. What you’re doing now is the Present. You are in the Present right now, as you are reading this. In one tenth or one hundredth or one millionth of a second, the Now will transform into the Then. One millionth of a second. That’s all you get of this Present. After that, the Present is suddenly a whole new second or moment or day and you’ll only have that much longer to accept that the second or moment or day before is no longer happening. It’s now forever archived in the Past. It’s funny how this swift transition between Past and Present gets lost on so many of us. Nowadays, it’s as if people are more focused on the Future – or even the Past – that they forget about the seconds and moments and days that they are living in right now. Aka the Present. It’s as if there is a significantly larger population of people who dwell on the things in the Past or worry and over-plan about the Future than of people who focus on the here and the now. It seems we need more people like that. Or rather, we need to remind ourselves of this. That - even though the Past is the facet of Time that impacts us the most and the Future is full of uncertainties, doubts and fears – the Past happened, the Future will happen someday but the Present you’re living in at this very moment will never happen again. Therefore we must cherish each and every fleeting second, moment and hour of our day, because once those moments are gone, they’re gone for good.

Finally, the Future. The scariest and most daunting of the three facets of Time. The Future seems to be portrayed and viewed as this big dark cloud of question marks simply because we don’t know for a fact what our Futures will be like. We don’t know if we’ll be going out to that same place with our friends tomorrow night. We don’t know if we’ll get into our dream college or meet new people or find a new lover or buy a house one day, we don’t know. We know what happened in our Past and we – usually – know what is happening in the here and now, the Present. But we don’t know what the Future holds in store for us. Whether that be three hours from now, this weekend, next year or the next decade, we don’t know. And, I think, that’s what’s the most scary and daunting about the concept of the Future. The not knowing is what eats away at a lot of our minds. It’s what makes us ask ourselves questions that only Time knows the answers to. It’s what makes some of us obsessive over what the Future holds and determined to plan out our entire lives and have our lives stick to that plan. On the other hand, it’s what makes some us reserved and scared and lost because we feel as if we don’t get a say in our Futures. And, yes, sadly that’s sometimes the case. But, more often the not, we may feel helpless and as if Time has the only say in our Future when, really, we could be doing so much in the Present that directly impacts our Future. We could be going to the gym today, eating healthy, cutting off unhealthy relationships, doing what we’re most passionate and happy doing, so much to help shape our Futures and ensure that we’ll live a happy and healthy life.

In conclusion, Time may be a mere man-made concept that only seems to restrict and restrain us more than anything else. But there’s so much more to it than that. Time includes the Past, the Present and the Future. And these three components of Time teach each and every one of us very valuable lessons that we should all carry with us as we go about our daily lives. The Past teaches us not to dwell but also not to forget. The Present teaches us to live in the now because this now will only happen once. And the Future teaches us not to worry too much and that we as human beings have the power to shape our lives. Without Time, none of these facets would exist and we would end up living our lives aimlessly, uncertainly. We wouldn’t be thinking in terms of Time and therefor wouldn’t worry about the consequences of our actions as much. We’d end up doing reckless, stupid things much more often which could negatively impact our Pasts, Presents and Futures. And so, while Time seems to be on all of our minds a little too much these days, it’s important to acknowledge the valuable lessons that the Past, Present, and Future has taught us, is teaching us and will continue to teach us throughout the course of lives.

The author's comments:

Time is an obstacle and should be irrelevant... Or should it?

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