A MATTER OF TIME


By Akin Ojumu

There is a pattern of human behavior common to all people when they reach a certain age, regardless of color or creed. It is a surreptitious metamorphosis of the mind that frequently manifests itself at about the mid-life. Like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, the transmutation of individuals in this age group, is a force majeure  an irresistible compulsion  that is often not subject to human control. To the keen observer of the human nature, and those astutely attuned to the evolution of the human psyche, however, this isn’t a strange phenomenon at all. For most people, when they hit that age, it is par for the course.

Upon entering the waning years of life, men – and women – seem to experience a clandestine transformation in their disposition to life. It is a maturation of mindset, and broadening of perspectives, that involves an imperceptible shift in cognitive constructs from the concrete to the abstract, and from the categorical to the philosophical. For many in this phase of life, the big picture of being gradually comes to sharper focus, as the small picture fades into the night. This is the hallmark of those who have experienced their fair share of the vicissitudes of life. It is the trademark of those to whom life has thrown many curve balls, and the distinguishing attribute of people who have “been there and done that,” and who have ugly scars to show for it.

There once was a time, when I reasoned, talked, and acted like a child. Then, I grew up into a middle-aged man and jettisoned the way of a whippersnapper (1 Corinthians 13:11).

Each day that passes, I sense myself morphing, bit by bit, into a state of deep contemplation. Gone – or going – are the days when, at the speed of a rocket bound for outer space, I would give a piece of my mind to anyone, at any time, and on any issue, regardless of whether or not it is a welcomed opinion. These days, I catch myself, ever so often, in long pauses and lengthy rumination, weighing every word with great care before letting it blast off from the launching pad of my ever ready tongue.

With every sprout of new grey in my hair, every crease of furrow of the brow, and every inch of added bulge to my waistline, the bright and shining solid line that I had hitherto drawn between black and white gradually dissolves resulting in a mosaic of interconnected oasis of grey. The inflexible scale of youth, that once limited me to a narrow and circumscribed view of things, has slowly softens and falling off my eyes. Thus, more than ever before, I'm able to focus my gaze on the bigger picture of things. With gradual shedding of the blinding scale in my eyes, I’m beginning to see life as it really is, and not as I wish and want it to be.

If you conclude that I have caught the reticence bug of a grown-ass man – borrowing the colorful language of my brothers from the hood – you won’t be far off the mark. The odds you’d be found liable of medical malpractice is less than the chance of snowball in hell if, upon reviewing the signs and symptoms heretofore enumerated, you surmise they are telltale signs of fulminant introspection. Inside me, the insidious virus of excogitation proliferates by the millions each and every day.

The most obvious manifestation of this state of mind is my knack for bouts of intense brooding on disparate subjects at inopportune times. Every now and again, the levee of my mind breaks, succumbing to the torrential flow of thoughts on myriads of subjects, ranging from the secular to the spiritual, from political to the philosophical, and from the physical to the medical science.

For a while now, I have been going through one of those paroxysms of prolonged reverie. My restless mind has been preoccupied with the subject of “TIME”. 

Like generations before me, the concept of time has piqued my interest. Time, that irresistibly alluring enigma that continues to challenge the most brilliant human minds, has profoundly aroused my curiosity in ways I cannot explain. Fascinated by time, I find myself pulled into its spiraling vortex – my mind and will flailing helpless in tow. Day and night, the question, "What is Time?" echoes loud and continuously in the chambers of my mind.

Philosophers and Physicists alike have pondered over the nature of time and have questioned whether it even exists at all. In their copious writings, great thinkers have debated the source and the beginning of time. Throughout the ages, the question of what precedes time, and whether or not time will ever end, has been the fascination of many curious minds. Befuddled, these astute minds have struggled to explain whether time is a real, physical entity or a convenient construct of the human mind.

Undone by curiosity and unable to resist the urge, I decided to embark on a personal journey to study time. For this endeavor I'm studying the thoughts of men far more thoughtful than myself and I'm delving deep into the infallible Word of the Almighty God: the God-breathed and life-giving Word that is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. This essay is the product of my digging into a subject too vast for my mind for wrap around. It is a preliminary articulation of my thoughts on a topic so dense it took me months to cobble together mere hundred words at a time. To be honest, I’m way out of my depth, and I feel lost in the wormhole of space and time. 

As I attempt to deconstruct a subject in which I have no mastery or formal training of any sort, I'm going to occasionally come across as incoherent and sometimes unintelligible. My naïveté and novice, as a self-thought aficionado, will be quickly obvious to the great minds and experts who have far more advanced knowledge and understanding of this subject than I do. To them I say, indulge a bush leaguer. There are many also who will read this and feel as though they are subjecting themselves to self-torture and will quickly drop it. I don't blame them, torturing oneself is not a fun past time, I'll probably do the same thing myself...drop it like a it's an infectious disease. 

If, however, you have managed to read up to this point and have not let out a big yawn of, “Whatever,” if your eyes are still wide open and have not glazed over in boredom and you have not been knocked into somnolence, you might as well take the deep plunge and come with me on a voyage to explore the dimension of space and time.

So, fasten your seatbelt as we prepare for takeoff.

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