They say Time is Money. But seldom do they realise that equating the boundless expanse of time to the insatiable want for wealth is as glaring an irony as can be. And yet there is no way to denounce this age old adage, as it has supposedly remained relevant for eons of human existence. Or at least since the time money came to singularly rule all of our desires and aspirations.
The pandemic however has thrown it all into disarray- you say lives, I feel thoughts and processes and actions and reactions and basically existence itself. Perhaps the only thing that this raging war of atrocities on human, of course of their own calling, has failed to kill is the vast wealth of time we are endowed with. Time is all we have at our disposal, except for the ones dying of course which while seems to be too crude an assessment to state is again one of the most ‘promising’ truths of life.
With so much time at our command- or so we think, we are left wacky as to what to do or make of it. For decades, we have been whimpering about being so busy and stuff, about not having time for family and friends and joys and sorrows and for life itself. And now here we are with so much time chasing us, that we have failed to devise an appropriate number of ways to kill it. Perhaps this is for the first time since money had come to dictate our lives that we could have flowing coffers of it only if we could alas convert the trudges of time into that honeyed money. And yet we can’t, for how can a concept as abstract as time translate so fluently into something like money that gets as material as it can, unless when it is something that caters to the visceral leanings of the mind, as it has been doing for ages with this adage.
Keeping however the money factor aside, even when it pains our heart to do so for who in this day can make do without money, we are intrigued rather by the tides of time that supposedly comes also with therapeutic powers as in ‘Time heals’. Yet this same facade of time can harbor also potential destructive powers in its unending premise. With so little to do and so much idleness creeping into our lives so unexpectedly, we are staring right in the face of a crisis, one graver than what the virus could afflict us with.
What this gift of time has indeed gifted us with in the last some months goes beyond the impunity of our refusal to adhere to strict social distancing norms. We sure are alive and alert, safe and sound physically but the mental implications on us cannot be denied. We are residing in the hollow peripheries of the circle called life, eating and sleeping and cooking and cleaning all we can. But what we have been robbed off is the purpose of our existence. With little to look forward to and perhaps giving up all hope of returning to what had been the normal, all we are left with is a discrete chance at survival. And in whiling away all work and chores, like we had forever been dreaming to up till all this while, we are seemingly devoid of any intention to pursue. The endless expanse of time therefore has afforded us the luxury of idleness but at exorbitant costs. We are going through an existential crisis, an identity crisis and for some of us even a midlife crisis, all at the same time. Days of remaining locked inside without much scope of shared laughs and emerging hopes and it indeed begins to feel like doomsday for most of us. For those among us joking that they had been expecting the apocalypse and got instead a viral bout are perhaps the few blessed souls who have managed to maintain their spirits even in these days of drugdery. Faced with queasy prospects of pay cuts and job losses, we are standing in the abyss of a future that seems bleak and battered already and we lose all our hopes, every ounce of it as we once gain plunge into the depths of the darkness that we never knew even our so vibrant minds could harbour.
In almost surrendering our minds to the plundering recesses of emptiness, we feel perhaps for the first time a weird kind of fear. Fear not as much of death itself, as it is of the realisation as to how just futile life can be. In this time and situation, nothing matters, because we all are living for one common goal now- mere sustenance. We desperately seek for something that can spark as much as a flicker of fumbled joy. There is a melancholic rumination of the past, nostalgia overshrouds our mind as yet go again spiralling into the meaningless search for meaning. Life has become but a parody of what we had been making of it all through. Working to such ends that we thought defines who we are, only to be left fumbling at what we expect from ourselves is a dilemma we never had perceived life to bamboozle us with. And it is in all the idleness of time that we have been pondering and sondering at length as to what make of this life that is suddenly free of cares. In our ample time to sit and stare, we are ironically losing sight of ourselves. Landing up in the pit of disillusionment and then perking up a bit every time we connect to the outside world, aren’t we all deceiving ourselves of who we can be when we are all by ourselves? After days and years of ruing that we didn’t know that one person in our life well enough, we can’t help but smirk to the awakening that we don’t even know our own selves inside out. Isn’t that already enough reason for disillusionment, to be living a life that does not even come close to being the absolute truth of all?
The implication therefore of all such uncertainties in life is however the manifestation of an uncertainty itself. What we choose to derive from life depends on part on our understanding of it. The aspirations that we harbour, the dreams that we cherish, the goals that we set out to accomplish are an extension of ourselves. But even in this innate stemming from us, the irony lies in the inconsistency. At different stages in life, we have different priorities. That’s because as humans, rather as living beings, all of us continuously adapt and evolve and grow. The current stress of the pandemic, or any crisis situation in life for that matter, is only reminiscent of the dynamic nature of all things that govern the world. Again, like they say Change is the only Constant. Perhaps most of our delusions of life in general and ourselves in particular are also an assertion of what makes up the pursuit of them all. Life has to come full circle despite of all trials and turbulations and in all the quest for its meaning, this is what we strive for all along, even in times of normalcy shrouding over with seemingly materialistic but still rooted in philosophical aspects of existence. For life itself is not without much meaning outside of its dizzying profoundness, it is the ones who live it who must make head and tail out of its doctrine of the extraordinary even in commonplace existence.