I am not the type that reminisces about the past. I find it rather boring; I place it in the “been-there-done-that” category of things. The past is not something to dwell heavily upon, I think. Whenever I think of the past, I am put in mind of a badly made prequel – kind of like the Star Wars franchise. The films were much better without diving into the three prequels which simply showed that one of the greatest villains the world has ever seen was nothing more than an over-emotional teenager who could not keep it in his pants. I always thought Darth Vader’s youth was laden with lots of evil things: like using the Force to get at the cookies on the top shelf, winning football matches by making the ball levitate and fly towards the goal posts or laughing at Yoda’s bad grammar. You know, typical bad guy things. Basically, I always thought that Darth Vader was born in a suit, showered in a suit, ate in a suit, played in a suit – in general, I thought Darth Vader was always Darth Vader.
But when George Lucas decided to delve into the past, we were all shown something we did not want to believe. Darth Vader was a bitch; a hormonal, emotional, pony-tailed, wussy and gullible little bitch.
I have never looked at Darth Vader in the same way again.
The Star Wars films, along with a few others, convince me that the past is not always a profitable place to go. Sure there might be a few good lessons that can be learned from it, but I assure you that those lessons can be learned from the here and now just as well, if not better. Think about it. What is a burned hand in the past? The stove cannot be hot now can it? There, lesson learned again, just to refresh what you knew in the past.
What I really look forward to is the future, that uncertain moment in the next ten seconds where anything and everything is possible. It is way more interesting, I think. Perhaps my attitude to the past explains why I detest autobiographies so much. They are written about the past and we all know how they will end even before they begin – with the author alive at the end, probably signing your copy as well if his ego at having his book written had not killed him. It kind of kills the mystery. All you are reading about are moments that have already been decided, there are no twists and turns, the end has already been scripted. All autobiographies do the same thing; they record moments that have already been; moments that have passed, moments that know they were moments and are now desperately trying to seize the limelight again.
That’s why the past and I rarely get along. It is all a series of has-beens trying to be again.
I cannot for the life of me, allow myself to spend more than a passing moment looking into the past. I live for the next ten seconds – that is where the real story is, that is where all of the action, drama and romance lies. Stories cannot be told in 300-page intervals, they should be broken down to ten second bits. Even this post is contradicting itself. It is full of ten-second moments that deserve their own fanfare and their own title. The ten-second moments, where anything is possible are where you find the truth of the life we are living: it is all one big game of finance.
“A big game of finance?” you might ask.
“A very big game of finance,” I will reply without batting an eyelid, “where Death has given us a loan with about seventy-years or so to pay it back. Sometimes he collects sooner than expected, sometimes later. It all depends on his mood.”
Of course no one realises this because the loan has been cleverly called Life, making us think we are entitled to it, as though it is somehow a right that has been made available to all and sundry. But if you were to look closely, you would see that it is not. Death is the natural state of things. All of them are dead from the beginning. It is just that every once in a while, someone applies for a loan with a promising business plan and the stamp of approval is given, and there life begins.
Life, or these moments in between are a loan from a creditor that always gets his due. He knows this, which is why he is never scared of making an investment – time is always on his side, he will always make double on what he gave out. He is a wily one, Death is. He controls the ultimate interest rate; the one that determines whether we shall be able to pay back in time or not. All other interest rates pale in comparison.
Time is the enemy, always speeding us to that final payment when sooner or later each of us will be asked whether we have done the best with the time that was allotted to us. I like to think of whatever was Remy before I was born as being was one smart ass. His business plan must have been quite something to get Death to approve it. I imagine it was a plucky presentation filled with so many ambitions that it was approved solely on the basis that it could not all be achieved in one life time – a gamble against the debtor.
Which is why I am out to prove my creditor wrong.
It all comes down to the business plan, you see. The reason you are alive here and now is because somebody, or something somewhere managed to get Death approve a loan to start up whatever little venture you are now called. You might be Allan, or Mary or Tim or Jenny. It’s all the same. Someone went through the effort of convincing Death that you were going to be something different; something that the world would not have seen before; something that the world would need; something that would work.
Begrudgingly perhaps, Death gave his approval and presto! Here you are. Now it is time to start living and paying back that loan, my good son. The clock is ticking.
And how do you pay it back? Simple really. By living.
Living in this case means waking up and doing something worthwhile. Worthwhile in this case means something that adds value to the world. Value in this case means leaving the world better off than it was before. (By the way, anyone ever noticed how the word “value” has “you” in it? Just a thought).
Living means taking whatever amount of time has been allotted to you and spending it as generously as possible. Saving it is useless. Time is a commodity that does not earn value when stored – it is all in the spending. So spend it ruthlessly. Learn something you did not know, play something you have not tried before, eat a dish with ingredients that might still be crawling, go bungee jumping, ask her out, ask him out, take the chance, quit your job and do what you really like doing, stop worrying, tell the people that are annoying you to go fuck themselves.
That’s living: doing things that are “worth the while”, things are worthy of the next ten seconds of your life – things that make other ten seconds feel jealous.
The past is there to be made not relived. And it can only be made by the present and the future. What happens here and now and there and then will ultimately determine how good the past will be. I rarely look into my past because I know what is there. All of the moments, good and bad are there because I have been through them – I put them there. I know what they hold and what they do not. So forgive me if I am not the kind that looks back at years passed by, feeling nostalgic while putting on weight. I live for tomorrow – today is already done and dusted.
At the beginning of this article, I mentioned how much I rarely look into the past. Prequels as you might have noticed, are not my kind of thing. I am more about the next sequel. If you are looking for a memoir about 2010 and how awesome it is, you will not find it here. If you are looking for a swansong for this year, you should look at another blog. 2010 has already passed. So has 2011.
It’s all about the business plan, you see. And 2011 has been earmarked as 365 Days of Awesomeness. I can do nought but start planning for 2012.
It is all about the business plan – that is why when I say I wish you a prosperous New Year, I hope that you understand what I mean.
I must get to living now, I have debts to pay.