Monday, May 27, 2013

Time Travel is Possible

Did you know you can time travel? Maybe not in a Delorian or through special portals but you certainly can time travel. I imagine many of you actually did some time traveling today. Memorial Day is a perfect example of one way in which we can time travel. By memorializing our friends and loved ones we are not only keeping their memories alive but also by transporting ourselves to another time when they were still a part of our lives. Through our memories and reminiscing, we may not be physically traveling but emotionally traveling to another place and time. We experience the fun and excitement as well as the sorrow and poignant moments again. This also occurs when reading a good book. I just finished yet another great novel by Ivan Doig and I was transported to Montana at the turn of the 20th century.

With stories and memories we can travel to different times in the past with ease. Actually we are always experiencing and interacting with the past. The stars we see tonight are a great example of looking into the past; as by the time the light hits our eyes, the star may have already died. But even the most mundane activities with which we interact are already in the past. The sounds we hear and sights we see have occurred in the past by the time our brains process them. Ever have the sense of deja vu? Psychologists suggest that this feeling is actually our conscious processing occurring slower than our subconscious so as we are experiencing an event our subconscious has already formed a memory of said event. This then confuses our conscious into thinking we've already experienced this in the past. So to some degree it is quite a bit easier to time travel into the past than to stay in the present moment(why meditation is so challenging but good for you).

What about the future? Books cannot serve us here as the future, arguably, has not yet occurred and therefore does not serve us in time traveling. Unless you're Cassandra, you most likely cannot see the future, and if you can, you probably will not be believed. So you cannot use your memories to travel to the future. But you can still time travel to the future. Ever find yourself driving along and all of a sudden you are five or ten exits further along than you thought? Congratulations! You have successfully time traveled into the future which paradoxically is now longer the future, only ephemerally the present and then forever the past.

What's the use of time traveling into the future? Don't we always want to be in the present? This my friends is the secret to a successful marathon. If you can engage your mind in thoughts other than the pain you currently are experiencing you may find the miles flying by. My best marathons have been ones where I have either been in good conversation with other runners, or had something on my mind that transported me to another time and place.

Yesterday's Vermont City Marathon was one where I was unsuccessful in my time traveling endeavors  I was painfully aware of every step and breath and the miles did not fly by but rather crawled by in, seemingly, endless succession. However, I was able to qualify for Boston with a six minute buffer so that may be enough to get in for next year(I will not risk it though and plan on doing another late summer marathon to lower my qualifying time).

Want to live forever? Like Joseph Heller's character, just surround yourself with painful experiences and it will seem like you have lived forever. But if you want to live a happy life, it may be a better option to live a life where you create wonderful memories with those who you love and use them to transport yourself to another time when in uncomfortable situations.

Let's spend the rest of the day forming new memories while remembering all those that made these memories possible.

Up Next: Possibly Bretton Woods Fell Race next week, then EAGLEMAN 70.3 the following weekend!!!

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