And here we are, yet again, at the wind-down of a year. If these moments seem to sneak up on you faster and faster each year, there's good reason for that: they do. At least when we consider our lived experience of time.
My old friend Rob Lisy and I spoke about this in Episode 8 of Sonder Union. We experience time logarithmically. For those of you who don't remember, what? 8th-grade math? Logarithms are essentially the inverse of exponentiation. This isn't the place to get into a mathematical discussion (although logarithms are a powerful and underutilized concept!), and you probably didn't come here for math.
What it means when we say we experience time logarithmically is that our lived experience of time is front-loaded. When we turn three years old, getting to four years old is a daunting task! That's living 33% longer than you already have! If I were to live 33% longer than I have, we're talking 14 years by comparison. So when we're young time expands by the nature of it seeming like a hell of a long time. The older we get, the less of a proportion of our lived experience, which is why it seems like weeks take as long as days used to and years fly by.
The gut punch? Assuming you live to 80, you've reached half of your lived experience when you're in your early-mid 20s. So we might well have decades left, but it won't feel the same as our early decades.
And that tracks, doesn't it? Think about the outsized influence those early years have on our conception of the world. So much of our understanding is baked in those portentous, pregnant moments of time. Just talk with a therapist: how many of us are trying to surface things from childhood? I'm guessing that the music you listened to between ages 14 and 24 still dominates your musical consciousness?
Got away from myself again. Would you be surprised that I wanted to study the philosophy of time and determined I wasn't smart enough? I settled on philosophy of language, instead.
Because we're at the end of the year and I'm lazy, I'm going to use it as an excuse to go easy for the rest of the year on OTR and Sonder Union. I might put out a short solo episode of Sonder Union to reflect a bit on that journey so far – it would be the 10th episode (or 9.5 – I still need to get Lenor back to record a new episode after I mistakenly neglected to record the last 2/3rds of our first attempt) and it would be good to get that 10th episode out in the first year, as most podcasts never reach that mark.
But I'm gonna hibernate for a bit. I'll be back in the new year. But first!
In the spirit of trying something new, a friend recommended this album (Ray Barretto's Acid) to me a while back and I thought I'd give it a spin this morning. It's not my usual fare, but I quite like it.
As I listened to the first few tracks, I had the impression that I'd heard Barretto before and a little bit of digging revealed that his music is often used in films. That makes sense: the music is expansive and detailed, without being in-your-face. It's perfect party music, in that it sets a vibe but doesn't interfere with discussions or interaction.
I don't have a huge amount to say about it, yet. Perhaps I'll revisit Acid after I've lived with it a bit and report back with something more interesting than "It's good movie and party music!"
Finally, before I let you go for the year: a heartfelt thank you. I know that many of these OTR newsletters are long and sometimes a bit esoteric. I know that it's not your normal newsletter fare, chock-full of lists and how-tos. It takes a certain kind of person and taste to appreciate (or revel in the trainwreck of) something like this experiment and I am tremendously grateful you've shared some of your time with me this year. You've all helped me feel a sense of community and less alone.
I hope you survive or thrive this holiday season. It's my least favorite time of the year, as it is for many introverts, people with complicated family situations, or just people who feel the pressure to be "happy" during the most wonderful time of the year when they don't feel it.
Be kind to folks out there: you never know when they might need a hug or a string cheese!