by Bryce Klingonsmith
For me, I notice that my most profound epiphanies come when I’m doing nothing at all. I may be alone on this one, but there have been times where my life has literally been changed by staring at a blank wall. However foolish it may seem, this is how I learned one of the most important lessons of my life: to never let life pass.
It came one day, who knows how many years ago, when in a futile attempt to finish my math homework, I found myself caught up in one of these less than rare incidents: I was once again staring at the wall. My train of thought had long since derailed itself and was barreling deep into the abstract world of my subconscious. Then, in this moment of severe boredom, the thought occurred to me: “I may as well be dead right now.” Morbid, I know, and I will elaborate on this thought soon, but I will say that the effect this has had on my life is indispensable. I can only imagine how bored I would’ve been for the next sixty or seventy years had that thought never come.
So, what does it mean to be alive anyway? To make sense of this question, I like to compare people to goldfish. It’s been said that a goldfish has a memory span of no more than three seconds. What does this mean? Well first off, ignore the adult in the room when they tell you not to tap on the glass. The goldfish will be relieved of the subsequent trauma in a matter of seconds anyways. Second off, consider this: at any point in time, does the goldfish know that it’s been alive for more than three seconds? How can it have perception of the places it’s been, or the things it’s seen, or the same fish food that it’s had day after day? The answer is that it cannot. As time passes, it actually makes no difference to the fish that it was alive, just so long as it is alive in the current moment.
Believe it or not, humans are the same way. If you don’t spend your time making memories, then like the goldfish, you’ll find that life will feel a whole lot shorter by the time it’s over. That’s what I realized that night doing math homework. The act of doing homework is so remarkably repetitive and uneventful, that the chances of actually having any kind of recollection of it are about as high as the chances of frying an egg on Westlake’s sidewalk during the month of February. So, because I knew for a fact that I would not remember those moments spent on the couch (as ironic as that’s become as I now write an essay about it), I came to realize that it would make no difference to me now whether or not I had been alive at that moment.
So go out and be alive! Travel to new places, see new sights, and eat new food, because life not remembered is life not lived. Most importantly, do your homework. You never know what might happen!