how it's gonna be
You’ve never been a good judge of how much time has passed, and this month won’t be much easier. Whatever you may hope or think, counting the minutes between checking your phone probably won’t help. Remember when you used to know the exact length of each of your favorite songs, almost to the second? However it feels, that was long time ago, and it isn’t coming back. This month, forget about sleeping for a set number of hours. It isn’t going to happen.
If your dreams feel too long for how many hours you’ve slept, consider that the rest of your life has felt shorter than the time you've spent awake. And consider too what you might be protecting yourself from when you elect, consciously or not, to forget most of the substance of your dreams upon waking. If you’re at a loss, that’s a good place to start from. What problems can reading solve for you that less passive activity hasn’t, over the course of your years so far? Does reading have to solve a problem?
Time flies when you’re having fun, but what about when you’re waiting for the next train? Could you have had fun then too? It’s too late, anyway. It’s already September, and you’re still trying to make sense of 2016. Remember all the times the world was supposed to end? Fortunately or not, your world will only end once. This month, make up a false history for yourself. Set a timer and ignore it.
You have the sneaky suspicion that time isn’t entirely sequential, that your memories might just adjust to wherever you find yourself chronologically. This suspicion is probably wrong, but can’t be disproved. This month, ask someone nearby what time it is. Write a short biography of whichever nameless person lived in your apartment before you, taking care to describe how they navigated the same corners, the same countertop, the same arrangement of doors.
It’s nearly impossible, today, not to know what time it is. That’s too bad, too –to lose track of when you are is one of the great joys now less possible. This month, try to salvage something lost. Do the impossible: rewrite the work of a writer who you admire. Take the batteries out of every ticking clock that keeps you awake at night. Yet again, you find yourself talking about how you can’t believe it’s Friday. How could you not believe?
The most embarrassing thing for you about time passing is that you’ve had ample warning all your life. You know that a year from now you’ll be a year older, not younger, and with less time on the back end. Even still, you live your life like this might not be entirely true. Like maybe you have more time than science says you do. Science has been wrong before, and might be again. The end of summer used to be about going back to school, but now it means the end of a certain kind of weather and a certain approach to responsibility. This month, act as if summer might last forever.
Have you discovered yet the difference between the world that was promised and the world you’re living in? Whatever it is, you might not be entirely responsible.. This month, set only one alarm. Reassure yourself. Edit the messages you deliver between estranged friends. Even if the worst came to pass, you might still survive. Keeping asking about what went wrong.
The future, it’s been said, isn’t what it was. Do you make new memories while you’re on your phone? Even if most digital technology seems erased from most of your internal greatest-hits reel, it’s always somewhere off to the side, just out of camera view. Some of the most important things you don’t know aren’t hidden so much as ignored. This month, chart out your expectations for the next few years. Pay attention. Take notes.
Have you felt any difference since the eclipse passed? Maybe this is a new era for you, a chance to be something different. You’ve wondered about that your whole life: could you find another way to be? Getting older always felt like an opportunity, but if things are changing, it might not feel that way anymore. What can you trust, if not the way you feel right now? This month, dig out of your state of emergency. Play a game. Keep score.
Remember that reputation resets every morning or never at all – you live in a world made up only of narratives, and you may find yourself part of one that you never asked for. But given who you are now, it’s unlikely that anyone could ever really make you do anything. This month, know when your time has passed. Never say never. Build a new home.
If you haven’t been cut down yet, enjoy this time before that happens. Are you noticing other people’s shoes more than you used to? Keeping a record of what you do everyday is one way to spend your time. There comes a time when you are surrounded by your life, and that’s your situation now: longing for something has become longing for something else, and this month it might get to be too much. This month, deliver yourself from heartache.
Time has been a bad friend to you. Even when you’re away – off on some late summer sojourn, enjoying the waves and bad television – even then it works against you. The only big lesson time can teach is that your friendships will continue to change and any sabbatical you take will have consequences beyond what you intended or can imagine. But the more subtle lesson is that the consequences will befall someone who isn’t you, who doesn’t remember what the waves looked like or what was on TV, who knows only which friends were true and which were charlatans.