Time is a human illusion.
It’s the center of our universe. We all experience it differently. That’s why the power of phenomenons such as flow states are so powerful.
As I approach a new phase of life, I thought recently about the most magical moments in time. Here are the best ones to reflect on (not in order).
Newly married, no kids
This is the magical moment I’m experiencing right now.
My wife and I can do whatever we want. We can disappear for weeks with zero preparation and no one will care. It’s a beautiful phase of life because your love life is taken care of.
No more single shaming. No more dating. No more finding “the one.”
The start of a marriage is both awesome and hard. You attempt to glue together two people’s beliefs, systems, and habits for eternity.
The mention of the word eternity at the wedding already sends shivers down your spine. A few months after getting married you accept that as your new reality.
After pregnancy and before birth
I’m simultaneously experiencing this magical moment too.
My wife is pregnant. Our daughter is due to be born in November. I spend my afternoon walks thinking about what she might look like, and what great things she will achieve in her lifetime.
This phase is so cool because it requires your imagination to run wild. I can’t reach into my wife’s belly and ask my daughter. According to my pregnancy app, this week her ears became fully formed and her hearing got switched on.
Experiencing each part of a human body boot up is a bizarre feeling. But it’s an experience you never want to end, although it does.
Time with your grandparents
There’s so much we don’t know about them.
My grandma died at 104. I didn’t get enough chances to teleport back in her time machine through stories. Was life really that different 100 years ago?
Grandparents are your link to the past. They tell you where you came from so you can know where to head to. My grandpa was a potato farmer. I relabelled his career to entrepreneur. Now I’ve followed in his footsteps.
Time with previous generations is never long enough.
If only we could download their memories into a computer and watch them at night, instead of streaming stupid Netflix tv shows.
Time right before you quit your job (knowing you’ll never work one again)
This magical moment isn’t one we all experience. I got to last year.
I handed in my 4 weeks’ notice. Then I got to dream about a future without a job. I had the safety of a salary for just four more weeks. I savored every paycheck, thinking each one could be my last.
During the afternoons I went on walks to let my imagination run wild. Deep down I knew I’d never work again. But a part of me was scared and made sure to treat everyone nice on the way out in case I was wrong.
The sense of peace and freedom is hard to describe.
Time when your body is in peak shape
I’m in the best physical shape of my life. Don’t worry, I won’t post gym selfies.
As I age my muscles will weaken and my ability to lift will decrease. Running tiny marathons on the treadmill without hardly breaking a sweat will become a thing of the past. Injuries will likely become common.
Yet I’m at peace with it.
I spent much of my life in terrible shape. Now I’ve decoded the secrets of the fitness industry (spoiler: eat lots of plants) so I can use them for this final stage of 30s peak health.
The body is a gift. Respect it with exercise for as long as you can.
Time after you start your first job
Fresh out of college, we have big hopes for the business world.
It’s a cool moment because no one has infected your mind with revenue targets, KPIs, or fake HR/PR marketing. You’re still innocent. You still believe most companies exist to make our lives better.
The transition into capitalist work culture is the peak of your career.
After that it’s hard not to see every human experience as an opportunity for a transaction. Even now, I struggle. Yet I’m trying to get better.
Time right after you find the love of your life
Puppy love is special.
You haven’t uncovered each other’s faults yet. No farts have taken place. Your generosity record is clean. Dates are these beautiful events you look forward to for weeks. Your partner can do no wrong.
Everything they do is pure heaven.
I wish sometimes I could go back to when I first met my wife. We lived like teenagers. We had student apartment bedrooms and ate cheap takeout. We took public transport everywhere. I even watched Game of Thrones and fell in love with it — and her.
I’m not saying this honeymoon phase ends. It just changes. You get to know each other so well you can predict their every move.
Some of the spontaneity is lost and that can cause a person to reminisce.
Time right after you get your first freedom machine
The months leading up to getting your driver’s license are gorgeous.
A car is a freedom machine you think can take you anywhere. You think it’ll take you somewhere better than you currently are.
Months before I got my first car my friends and I would stay up late and talk about what car we would buy and where we could go. We talked about who would get theirs first, therefore, who’d be driving everyone else around.
The day I got my license my car’s engine didn’t turn off for a year.
We drove so many miles I had to get multiple car services and even new tires. The feeling of having the window down, wind in your hair, sunnies on, drink in hand, and music pumping is one to savor.
You’re at peak innocence.
You haven’t learned yet that a car is a weapon that can kill others — and you. When someone you know dies in a car accident the freedom a car offers may lose some of its shine. That’s to be expected.
Time with kids
Too many adults trade their kids’ childhoods in for a work boss.
It’s a huge sacrifice. Time with your kids when their young is huge, according to my friends who are parents. Kids can show you the power of imagination and following your curiosity — two tools that get suppressed later in life.
The journey starts with you being their guardian. As you get older and they become adults, a switch happens. Your kids become your guardians to take care of you in old age.
Accepting this transition is hard. I’m certainly not ready for it.
But this is the invisible contract we sign when we’re born. What’s born becomes old, and what’s old becomes reborn again.
I’m spending every second I can with my daughter. No stupid money-making exercise will rob me of that gift.
The human experience of time is so wild. It’s a puzzle our minds can never solve. All we can do is live these magical moments with present-moment awareness. Bonus points if you document them like I’m doing here.
Enjoy each moment in time as if it’s the last. Because for some moments, it will be.