I have read and heard that some societies do not take pictures of friends and relatives for fear of somehow stealing their immortal souls. This is not the case with picture happy Americans who are always snapping pictures of this or that by virtually every means available in today's high tech society. I do believe that the act of taking pictures/photos can be very powerful means of freezing a moment in time in ways that are stunning and captivating. Taking photos may in fact be the only means of stopping time as we humans experience time in all of its fleeting reality.
We are creatures of time, more so than any other animal on this planet. We measure time constantly. The inexorable tick tock of the clock clicks off the moments of our lives with irresistible force. This inability to stop the flow of time scares us; we fear the grain by grain sifting of sand through hour glass of our lives, knowing (as no other animal does) that our time is limited and that no matter how good we are, or how pretty we are, or how many good deeds we may or may not do, the drip, drip of the sands of time cannot be stopped; and when the sand grains run out, so do we, our lives are at an end. No amount of bargaining, of praying, or cajoling can alter this fact. And this knowledge of the ultimate finitude of our lives both motivates our actions (or lack thereof) and fills us with a terrible dread that we will not have accomplished all that we desire in this life; that we will not have lived our lives to the fullest; In fact, many of us do realize that we are not living our lives to the fullest potential.
We too often become "couch potatoes", endlessly flipping the remote control in search of entertainment to help fill the empty hours of our lives. We are aware that there are perhaps more fulfilling ways to spend our time, yet inertia, or lethargy or illness may keep up on the couch instead of pursuing a more active and engaged life style. Someone once said that Life is not a spectator sport, but how many of us are the doers and how many of us are content to just watch? I plead guilty to this pattern of behavior. I would hate to calculate the number of hours I have wasted semi-awake, just clicking the remote or surfing the internet.
There is no easy solution to this wasting of time. We chastise our children for the very slothful postures and procrastinating that we ourselves are also just as guilty of doing. It is very hard to break the sloth cycle, especially in bad weather (hot or cold) when staying immobile under the AC or in front of the fireplace gives us the perfect excuse. The physical and mental consequences of this lackadayzicle life style is all to plain. We pay for our inactivity with weight gain, flabby bodies and flabby muscles. We can't sleep, or enjoy the activities that once brought us pleasure. Obesity is epidemic, along with Diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, leading to heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
The Jewish New Year is just around the corner. This is as good a time as any to make new resolutions to become more physically active and more conscious of how many calories we consume. I was once a two pack a day cigarette smoker. It took years of trying to finally break the cigarette habit, but I did manage to succeed eventually. I know I can also increase my activity level and cut back on calories once I put my mind to it. And therein lies the rub. Mind over matter.
I am overweight (I hate the word obese, but if the shoe fits) and I have Type 2 Diabetes (the two are related I am often told). Fine, so be it. I have resolved to make a change (hopefully for the better). I know my friends wish me well in this endeavor. I appreciate expressions of support.
As Dylan Thomas once wrote, Time holds me green and dying, though I sing in my chains like the sea! Every journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. My journey begins today. Wish me luck!