Like many people, I’m a big Lord of the Rings fan. It’s a great read, of course, and there are many, many things that you could latch on to and muse over in that rich world of Middle Earth that was created by Tolkien. While the story is a gripping one, as the movies have proven, it’s the characters that are worth looking into. And it’s strange how learning about a mythical race put a lot of things in perspective for me.
One of the things about the other races in LoTR is that they live for a very long time. The dwarves live for centuries; the hobbits are closest to us in terms of lifespan, but they fully expect to live to a hundred (barring being eaten by an orc, I guess). King of the hill are the elves who, if I understand it correctly, live for thousands of years.
Now one day, after watching the first movie, I believe, I started thinking about how we humans stack up in the face of this and I really started hating the fact that our lives are far too short.
In our childhood years, we hardly remember a thing. We have impressions at most and probably a few very strong memories. But no one really remembers those days very well. They were pretty much a haze with smatterings of clarity.
The teen-age years? These are clearer and probably the first time we truly got a sense of ourselves as individuals, especially around the age of 16. It is at around 20 though that we finally start being fully functioning human beings. We remember most things, good and bad. And we start carrying emotional baggage.
And this is what I hate. We live most of our first 20 years not really knowing what’s going on. We jump out into the world after college and we barely know what we’re doing. All we really know is that we’re supposed to work everyday to make a living.
Then we have 20 years of high performance adulthood. Twenty years, which I’m sure most of us notice, blow by in a breeze. Between work and raising a family, there’s just no time. No time to be the parent you want to be, no time to be the spouse you want to be, no time to be the success you want to be, no time to be the person you want to be. Most of us end up sacrificing in some aspects.
In fact, most of our time is spent wanting time to go faster. How many of us, on a Monday, start the week by saying, “I wish it were Friday.” Then we do whatever we can to forget the working week and only come to life on the weekend. But in doing this, we effectively killed five days of our lives in menial labor. When you keep trading five days for two, life gets shortened considerably.
I thought then of the elves and the dwarves. What would we be like if we had hundreds of years to live? How much more could we learn? How much more could we accomplish? What sort of values would we have then? What quality would our lives have if we didn’t have the urgency of our short lifespan?
Anyway, it’s just a strange thought. I hate thinking that I’m 32 and that my peak is gone. I feel like I’ve only lived a handful of years, and truly I think that that’s true, but somehow despite after only living a handful, I’m supposed to be experienced and knowledgeable.
And I hate how time passes so quickly. Five years was an eternity as a child. Today, that’s just around the corner. What’s worse is that I drive it ever forward every time I trade five days for two.
Mark passes his time at mark_mac72@ hotmail.com. Or rather, time passes him.
Mark J. Macapagal