We're close to a quarter into 2021 (how is it March already?), but a bad year which ended does not necessarily mean all the bad that happened in its span magically disappears. Time is as real as the present-giving, white-bearded man we celebrate every December. And as much as we have 24 equal time zones working in sync across the globe, we know that time is not universal. We can acknowledge that it passes differently in different situations, best exemplified by how 2020 felt like a decade.
While we won’t get into Einstein’s theory of relativity, the truth is, like every millennial’s struggle, time dilation is real. It’s why satellites marking your positions in a GPS have to be recalibrated in consideration of their acceleration in the orbit versus the gravity on earth just so that you get accurate navigation live. Pretty science-y, we know, but also proof that time truly is a man-made concept.
Even when we agree that time is linear, seemingly progressing in a singular direction as we remain prisoners to its irreversible forward march. We account for it in linguistic tenses. Physicists account for it as the arrow of time (or three arrows according to Stephen Hawking). No, it depends on its definition. It’s certainly not a deity named Chronos as far as we can tell, but it is in many ways a dimension.
Just as you can move in any direction spatially, and comfortably accept the notion that different spaces can exist concurrently, so do different moments in time. There are no laws of physics that state the past ceases simply because the present overtakes it. Recall that scene in Interstellar where Cooper lands within the tesseract, witnessing his daughter’s entire life laid out before him.
He was present alongside every moment, which existed all at once. So if time is an illusion and every moment is as arbitrary as the other, we will gladly repeat the cliché: don’t put off your happiness for until you achieve your next goal and carpe that damn diem. After all, we don’t know how much of it we have left.