Time passes slowly when you’re lost in a dream

Bear with me…this is gonna be tricky.

At work, I am currently seated with some early 20-somethings in what we call “The Quad.” I am not 20-something. I am like the person in college who keeps taking classes and is quite a bit older than my peers and can buy them liquor.

One of the Quad members is Nira. She is a bubbly, open-minded networker. We find ourselves talking conspiracy theories regarding the Mandela Effect or about ghosts.

One day, we were talking about the concept of time. I truly can get woo-woo spiritual regarding other dimensions and parallel universes and dreams and such. Naturally, I don’t open with that side of myself when I meet people, but Quad Life has a way of dispensing your personal truths.

So Nira says, “I have a book I think you would like. It’s a quick read. It’s called ‘Einstein’s Dreams’ and it’s about the concept of time.”

einstein's dreams

I am not gonna lie, the part about it being a quick read, was what got my attention.  I borrowed it and intended to read it now for a couple of weeks. But hadn’t yet.

Friday, Nira was saying how she had some plans that sounded amazing but there was something that wasn’t squaring as she continued talking. It turns out, she was feeling possibly sidelined by her friends. I (and another co-worker who is quite a master of riding these waters) told Nira that no one can take away her peace of mind or her weekend. If she didn’t feel like going out with them, she could always go to a cool farmer’s market, or dress up in brunch-wear and grab her most mysterious sunglasses and order a drink at the Chateau Marmont and read a cool book while sitting among celebrities. Her weekend was unwritten and it was all up to her how she wanted to experience it. Her time was her own. She left work with a pep in her step.

Last night, I was talking on the phone (I know! The phone!!!! I was just as shocked – who does that these days?) with Mads.

I was telling her about Nira and her plans. And then we started talking about various things. She mentioned an article in the NY Times about these Argentinian bankers in their 20s who have parties in this carriage house in NY (a block from Gramercy Park). She said it reminded her of the parties we used to throw when we were single.  We had the best parties. But it wasn’t just the big blow outs. It was also the little soirees or the spontaneous get-togethers. Or the nights checking out cool restaurants or strangers’ parties.

I told her how Shutterfly sent me a reminder of certain photos and I was taking a trip down memory lane as well. I joked that it seemed like we went out almost every night. And she said, “I think we did.” Which sounds about right.

 

 

 

 

Zappy seems to have a different feeling about those times vs. the present. She has a line of demarcation where that was then and this is now. Mads and I both see it more like part of the same stream but a different landscape. I don’t look at how our parties were a “back then” kind of thing. Yes, we were all single. Yes, we were broker. But it still feels like part of the whole. As Mads mentioned, we just had Shaka’s bday party at her house this summer and that kind of lush summer fete doesn’t feel that different from other nights we used to have. I agree with her.

Maybe that’s what keeps us thinking young. Or maybe it’s delusion. Time is a funny thing. And it’s all perspective, isn’t it?

We started talking about how there are certain people we know who are older than we are, but who keep grabbing life by the balls (er, horns?) and living the hell out of it.

She said that at her job, the summer brings “special guest stars.” Those guest stars range from art repair people, to the construction workers fixing up areas of the buildings. At lunch, they all gather and tell fascinating stories of their travels or their lives or their experiences. Mads has always been a magnet for cool shit. But she is also very open to it. There are always people in the world who could meet those same guest stars, and be like, “meh” and miss out on that kind of connecting. Hearing her stories ignited something in me. I love those kind of moments. Plus, I had just come back from visiting Luce, a beautiful, spiritual soul who reads coffee grounds. I hadn’t seen her since last year and it was such a wonderful afternoon. My coffee ground reading was great (as was the strong coffee – nom nom), but we also connect on a truly deep level. She has lived all over the world and has had such unique experiences. I left there with a pep in my own damn step.

So today, after working out, I decided to begin the quick read of “Einstein’s Dreams.”

It was quite funny how the timing of all that I experienced this weekend seemed to line up with the book. There are various scenarios about how societies perceive time. In one scenario, people age in reverse. In another, you live your entire life in one day; one sunrise and one sunset. At first, it felt like sort of random little stories, but as I kept going, I could feel something in my brain rewiring. And the even stranger thing was the stoppage of time that occurred as I was reading. I didn’t feel rushed or like I was wasting time or have any kind of Sunday-itis. I felt calm. And like the world had just opened a hallway of more opportunities.

Or maybe that is how I perceived it.

“Each time is true, but the truths are not the same.”
― Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams

I am glad that I have people in my life that I feel connected to, even if our truths aren’t the same.

These bonds endure, regardless of time.

 

 

Katification of Me

It started at the beginning of this year.   I was at a dinner party where I ran into a friend of a friend.

Her name is Kat.  She is beautiful, thin, young and incredibly vapid.

She is of that generation that came out of learning to brand themselves for social networking and have parlayed that into marketing, PR and Networking careers.

I have never had a strong opinion of Kat, other than she was 3 degrees of separation.  And she always says, “hello” to me in a very fabricated, genuine way.

After having one of the longest conversations I had ever experienced with her (10 minutes) at the dinner party, I realized that she isn’t all bad.  But she IS a lot of bad.  Bad for me, anyway.  Bad for my soul (wait?  Too dramatic).  Well, you get it.  Bad in a way that left me feeling like there was still a residue from our conversation. A sentence without a period.

What was gnawing at me?  It wasn’t jealousy (though for the low hanging fruit pickers, that would be obvi but untrue).  I didn’t want to BE her because I like more parts to my personality than she has hair on her head (she has beautiful, brown flowing locks). There was nothing about her that I found particularly interesting, funny or creative. And yet, one day, out of sheer boredom on facebook,  I wound up at her page.

I noticed that on a recent trip to NY, she had posted a photo of the contents (carefully art-designed, naturally) of her carry-on bag.

Among the various items of makeup, scarves, lotions, her phone and her camera, was a pair of headphones.  They jumped out at me on the page.  Was it my insatiable consumeristic nature?  Was it the part of me that loves those “What’s in Your Bag” features of many beauty haul blogs on youtube?  Or was it the ACTUAL beauty of these headphones (sometimes headphones are, afterall, just  headphones)?

It WAS the headphones.  But it was so much more.  It was that with very little effort (or so it appeared), she had so many things at her fingertips which were a struggle for me to achieve.

The headphones represented the disparities in our lives. It was quite literally, a snapshot into her easy life.

There, I guess it WAS more than the headphones and a little jealousy.

Kat’s appeal; her mystery, was that she felt like everything that happened to her, came to her, fell into her lap, was HERS.  She willed it.  Or wanted it, then willed it.

Either way, I found that although, yes, she came from privilege, she wasn’t a brat.

She was just entitled.

The world gave her a lot when she was born.  But she continued to expect a lot – with a smile.

And she got it.

These headphones had been a gift.  Probably swag.  Everything in that photo was simple, but purposeful. Her knowledge of branding was to be envied.  She had created a cult of the anti-personality.  And it was working! Everything was working for her!

I looked in the mirror that morning.

Were things working for me? And if not, why not?

What could I do differently?

If I could take one ounce of the Kat Koolaid and apply it to my own life, how differently would things turn out?

I was going to make this year:  The Katification of Me!

I had never been too materialistic, save for perfume and hair products.

I didn’t want to become like Kat, I only wanted to create a a playing field where I wouldn’t just secretly covet things or lifestyles of others, but rather, I would find a way to have them or create them for myself, while still being me.

It’s strange when you change the narrative of your own story.

Once I started creating a list of things I wanted, I realized that some items weren’t really that important to me.

A dupe might work here, or the real thing there.

I found that craving some materialistic objects made me happy and made me buy a lot less crap.  Like when you eat really good gelato rather than light ice cream.  It does the satiation trick.

Some things fell of the list really fast, like wouldn’t you know it – the headphones which had started this whole thing!  I ended up getting a pair I love for a fraction of the cost.

Some items are still on the list because I still WANT them even after months and months of deliberating if I NEED them.

I wasn’t coveting anything or anyone else’s life anymore.

Funny thing was…I hadn’t even known that I HAD been until it stopped. Weird.

Who knew that a casual acquaintance would help me start to truly love my life and be grateful? Be grateful for what I already have, be grateful for what I want to have, even if it never reaches me.

Be grateful I live in a time and place where for me, this is possible.  And also, not to be so quick to judge someone’s place in my life.  The lesson was quite loud.

I have run into Kat a few times since then.  She has no idea.  I doubt she would care about the impact this experiment had on me, if I were to tell her.

But who knows? She might surprise me. The power of Katification has shown me that anything is possible!