Time For a Change?

It’s summertime! Well, officially, according to the calendar, it starts on June 21. That’s the day in which the sun, that bright bulb that permits life here on planet Earth, is highest in the sky in the northern hemisphere. It’s also called “summer solstice” or “the longest day”. Long, as in the most hours and minutes from sunrise to sunset. However, the “unofficial” start of summer was yesterday, May 27th, the day in which we, first and foremost, observe memorial Day, in honor of those who died in military service to our country. That aside, June 21st is the last day of increased daylight, a progression that started back on December 22nd, 2018, when “winter solstice” is noted–the day in which there is the least amount of daylight, sunrise to sunset, in the northern hemisphere. So, in a little over three weeks, northern hemisphere dwellers, it’s all downhill for the daylight, with summer solstice giving way to the inexorable diminution of daylight that bottoms out on the winter solstice. And so the cycle goes on and on and on, until what? Until that bright bulb burns out up there, right?

Not to worry, be assured, because according to those scientists who concern themselves with such matters, Old Sol has a ways to go before it flickers and flutters and gutters out: in 5 to 7 BILLION years time, the sun’s life will come to an end. It will then become a “red giant star”. It might even become so giant that it swallows the Earth whole. That is, if you want to believe NASA scientists and their ilk. But who in blazes (get it, blazes?) will be around to check the accuracy of this prediction? So, if the sun running out of fuel is your big worry, please relax. Wait, is there anyone worried about that happening? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? I guess not. And I am not concerned, either. I’m simply trying to take your minds off the here and now by projecting billions of years into the future. In so doing, even if you properly react by thinking who cares about anything that far in the future?, it might compel you to think about the future in the context of the here and now. What does concern you right now? It’s none of my business, I know, but whatever concerns you right now has a future that will ultimately entail an outcome concerning your–well, your concern. Got plans for the future? No, well it doesn’t matter because the future damn well has plans for you, for everyone. All things must pass, right? Including the sun’s bright shine. Where does that leave us microscopic specs of human dust in the long haul? We’re along for the ride, but even the oldest of the old might reach 120 years; that’s not even measurable in geologic time. Not that we are meaningless. Hell, look at what humankind has created. From the slime we have progressed to technological wonders. The wheel. Bicycles. Railroads. Photography. Motion-in-pictures. Automobiles. Airplanes. Jumbo jets. Skyscrapers. Radio. TV. Cable TV. Steaming video. Fitbits. Elexa. Suburbia. Deep suburbia. Mega-malls. Moon landings. CGI. Smart phones. Social media. Drones. Virtual reality. Tanning beds! Craft beer!

What contribution to life on earth have you made? Maybe not reinvented the wheel but reproduced yourself, as in having progeny? If you are reading this, you are someone’s progeny. You didn’t create yourself. But you can reinvent yourself, right? C’mon. Not happy with all the technological creature comforts? Still feeling some void? You a penthouse dweller and still feeling unfulfilled? Is money your god? No? Good? It’s the root of all evil, ya know, right? Greed is good? Not a materialistic type? Are you living in a flophouse? Is less more for you? If more is more you are so screwed. And likely on meds.

Are you still a “work-in-progress”. You do have concerns about the future? You have plans for the future? Or is the future always now? The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, as that saying goes. Keep on truckin. There’s possibly enough time to climb Maslow’s pyramid (hell, maybe climb Everest too!), and strive for self-actualization, although that tip-top of the pyramid is a relative matter. But get with it, no matter your current status, because while you can take time out for a break, you can’t take a break from time. Time is a tyrant, okay?

Even for Old Sol!

So, on this unofficial first day of summer, don’t waste any time. Keep on keepin on. Wait, we do that even if we are doing nothing, I suppose. Got a heartbeat? Then you are keepin on…so try for more than that.

…and while few make it to 120 (and who the bloody hell would want to get that old?, given we are subject to wear and tear from Day One), it would only be natural to want to feel as good about life as possible. But one person’s ceiling is another one’s floor and all that. Are you trying to right a perceived wrong? Are you resisting?, fighting back?, are you an “indivisible”? What’s on your radar? Anything seem alarming? That blip over there? What is that? Is that…is that a…

Leader or follower? Saint or sinner? Lover or hater? Dog or cat? Paper or plastic? Apple or android? Rock or blues? Jazz or classical? Pulp fiction or classic literature? Aisle or window? Progressive or conservative? True believer or a cynic? All of the above? None of the above. A and C only? Is this a test? How will it be graded? On a curve you hope , right? Life is a classroom and always in session. What did you learn today? Are you listening or just hearing?

The sun is not having to wait on any of us. In a billion years we’re all long loooooooooooong gone. Replaced by progeny and then it’s their problem figuring out what to make of being alive. A billion years? To get back to that science that asserts the sun “only?” has those billions of years left, they are also saying that here on Earth, time is running out right now, imminently so. And your progeny make have to pay the price. Wholesale. But who’s thinking that far ahead? What? By 2050, the oceans…blah blah.

I’m tired of hearing it. But I’m somewhat immune to being that concerned about the future, as I have no progeny. Or grand-progeny, so-to-speak, to pass on into the future. If I did I’d really feel something. All I feel now is resigned. In my opinion, Earth is our host, and we are a virus that has infected the host. Killing it. I see young couples pushing baby carriages and feel…sorry…for those tots. Their parents must have great plans for the future, no doubt (and must not be reading the climate science reports). And now that it’s virtually summertime, and the birds are chirping and the leaves are in full flush, the things that bloom are blooming and the sky seems normally blue, the future is so bright we all have to wear shades. And spread SPF 700 on our skin during the hours of 10am to 4pm. Ask any dermatologist. The ozone is stressed, but we seem to not have even a palliative plan to address that anytime soon.

Right now, I’m clinging to the still ascending number of daylight minutes leading up to June 21st. And even though it will be summery for another four months or so past that date, I cannot escape the cold fact that time is always, always running down. But it’s not about to run out on all of us. Yet. The future is always right now. If the clock is running out on mother Earth faster because of human activity, then we will get exactly what we deserve. I don’t think I have another 30 or fifty years to witness whether the dire predictions of the near-future will come to pass, and that’s probably for the better, no? You want to be around to the End Game? Who would?

In the meantime, think about whatever future you can be reasonably assured of having, time-wise, barring accident or disease rushing in to cut things short. What’s on that radar? Anything you want to see changed? Then do something. Don’t ask me what. Research it. Donate to climate science. Vote with your brain engaged. I’ve done those things in order to “try to make a difference” but now I mainly have this blog to sooth my psyche. I feel burned out on trying to help make percieved wrongs right. Enervation has set in, methinks. Or is it torpor? My postings are my only progeny. Hope someone likes a few. However. Just like not everyone likes kids, my cyber offerings may be an annoyance more than any uplifting attribution for the eyeballs that encounter them. And if we were to meet, and have a chat, you’d get the interpersonal version of my opinions (some “informed” while others, like this one, just rambling observations). Like I said up there, just trying to take your mind off…

…never…mind

Anyway. I just consumed about 90 minutes creating this posting, minutes that I’ll never get back. But I don’t think I wasted those minutes. I’ve done plenty of wasting time, and who doesn’t wonder about the wisdom of time spent doing this or that? Just keep in mind, there’s maybe only five billion years left of that great ball of fire in the sky. Get with it.

What? Confused? Frustrated? Numbed out? Adrift? Can’t seem to get a grip on how things seems so extreme these days, in many layers of life? In that case, take a number. I have zero answers. And so it goes, and goes. Until it’s all gone.

About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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1 Response to Time For a Change?

  1. We live in an age where we can glimpse the future in broad strokes, with catastrophic climate change and mass extinction of species solidly on the horizon. Can we make a difference? We can certainly try, and I take comfort in that.

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