Once people learn just how time can change a person, she will have wasted so much time coming to the realization that they just wasted all this time. She would be a different person than if she had truly known this grain of wisdom earlier in her life.
David Bowie was right.
"Time may change me. But I can't trace time."
(From the song, Changes)
Every generation must learn this old truth by itself, one by one. That does not stop the older generations from trying to teach the younger generations and some may do it successfully in rare form. Those who are among the newer generations will learn at their own paces. That is the irony of this truth. Once people learn just how time can change a person, she will have wasted so much time coming to the realization that they just wasted all this time. She would be a different person than if she had truly known this grain of wisdom earlier in her life.The sad result of this great disadvantage is that people have the potential to grow but may not mature as fully as possible. Time does strange things to people. Just as the quote goes, people change over time but when a person looks back over her life, she may not be able to understand at which point in time and how these changes even occurred. However, a quick survey taken from the mass population will probably reveal that most are not aware of this piece of reality. People understand they will not do the same things when they are older, wear the same clothes, or drive the same car. However, most people do not realize how much of these little details can change how a person can feel about herself. It feels as if a person is in another world, another lifetime, and eventually, another body. As it is written, people may understand that this is the truth for another person but it cannot possibly apply to them.Most suffer from the “it won’t happen to me” syndrome. If there is no mistaken, then everyone has thought this at one point.
Someone once asked,
"How many years of denial must you live?"
This quote also probes at a similar truth regarding time and perception. If your view does not change, you most likely would not have been growing in however many years you hold onto that same "truth." Here, truth is whatever you believe to be reality. Everyone has a different reality and so, a different truth. But how many moons will live and die before a person can realize that she has not been growing all this time but dying? And not only that, but she was dying with a false image of her own reality. Denial can make time go by faster and it can make living more tolerable. However, when a person eventually wakes up and out of this dream like, child like, fantasy, she may realize that she would rather have time not go by faster and would rather have made living more palpable not to the taste but to the touch - the sensation of feeling. In other words, she may have realized she would rather feel the painfulness of life than to have not feel anything at all.
"You are only as young as you feel."
A favorite retort to that would be, "Youth is a concept of those who have aged." But it is true . You are only as young or happy or good, as you feel. A guilty conscience, a fatal depression, or a dreary self-image of one self will wipe away whatever reality provides. Perception is key. However, if a person is using her perception to cloud and sugar coat her own reality, then it is the key to happiness and it is the key to ignorance. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. There are no answers here. The truth is for you to find. Like it was said before, truth is whatever you see in your reality. Every time a person changes, they grow. If you choose to believe you are the absolute same, then you are. It is your choice and your free will to see how young you are, to feel how happy you are, and so on. But be careful, of crossing the line over to denial. Also, be wary of not changing at all. It could be for the better or worse, but people have to change to live and grow. Mistakes are made because they're meant to be learned from and to make a person wiser. If you want happiness, just remember this.
"Ignorance is bliss."
That is not to say, if you ever want to know the truth then you cannot be happy. However, brace yourself with a touch of humor, a pinch of cynicism, a tad of acceptance, a sprinkle of non-judgmental mind frame and so on.
There is one last thing to add.An old Chinese saying tells of a man who stands in the river.He is sad day in and day out to realize he can never step in the same river twice.This is because the water is always flowing.The same molecules of water are never in the same place again, after you step out of the water and back in again.Life is always changing.Time is the main catalyst by which people are allowed and forced to change. Also, as Bowie implied, a person will find it difficult to trace ever molecule of water that actually makes the same river different a second later.It is just as difficult to determine what makes a person different a moment later, as well.Embrace the contingency of life and embrace yourself.
I love the Chinese proverb. I don't remember when I began giving advice instead of listening to it. It matters not anyway where I give or I receive, I will go on as I see fit at the time. Do I wish I had come to grips with some valuable lessons much, much earlier in my life? You bet I do. But that is the human experience, and as you pointed out in you well-written article,I had heard the advice of those older and wiser, but in my mind I was on a downhill race to death and nothing was going to stop me. Then suddenly I was forty-years-old. I had proclaimed I would not live past thirty. Somewhere along there is when I began to understand life and its pitfalls and rewards, but it would still take me another decade in order to fuse everything together. I turned seventy this year. I am happier now that I have ever been. Happiness is a tenuous thing. My wife died last February, so one might ask how can I say I am happier now that I have ever been. Simple. I have learned how to be happy, by not allowing life's lesson's, i.e., my wife's death, to hinder those lessons.