How can we halt the march of time? How do we outpace it and forge ahead? Is it something real, or merely a fanciful dream borrowed from the enchanting tales of Peter Pan and his magical world, “Neverland”?
Before delving into this profound philosophical question for some and perhaps a cliché, readily apparent answer for others, let’s together navigate the complexities of time. Think of it like your heartbeat; it ticks away, and like your heartbeat, you know it’s there, but you forget about it most of the time. You only remember it when it lets you down in a tough moment. Most times, it dawns on us too late, and we find ourselves racing against a strong river that eventually pulls us away, no matter how strong we are or how much we fight.
The days, as we often forget, pass in a monotonous rhythm: study, work, work, work, setbacks, triumphs, setbacks, excellence… All this in pursuit of a brighter future for ourselves and those we love, accidentally, neglecting the most precious possession— the present, the now, which we squander in the pursuit of a tomorrow that’s far from guaranteed.
I share these reflections not as an exercise in arrogance or indulgence in philosophy but as a testament to my early realization of the profound value of time. This insight emerged from an extraordinary encounter with exceptional individuals, from whom, before meeting, I expected little. Yet truth be told, they liberated me from the clutches of a dull routine, revealing that life encompasses meanings beyond the realms of work, office, monumental issues, ceaseless struggle, and elusive truths.
They imparted the wisdom of embracing simplicity, emphasizing that nothing is gained and nothing eludes us. Through this transformative experience, I crossed paths with souls who etched a permanent mark upon me. I know that writing the future before it happens is hard, but, an inner intuition whispers that they will occupy a significant space in my life for the foreseeable future.
From each of these extraordinary individuals, I gleaned invaluable lessons.
One taught me the essence of joy and the pursuit of beauty and happiness in the smallest of things, from a folded piece of paper to a wine glass, a small golf ball, or a crinkled clay sculpture. I found out that even as we get older, a playful and happy part of us stays behind, like an inner wild child who plays, laughs, and makes plans to avoid getting into trouble. They also Instilled in me the belief that opportunities are crafted, principles endure, losing is restricted, spontaneous intuitions are allowed, and Messi is the greatest human in the whole universe.
Yet another provided assurance that tomorrow is undeniably bright, urging me to celebrate in the present moment, extend care to others, lend an ear to those who seek reassurance, be compassionate to the ailing, and tune out the negativity surrounding me. With this person, I discovered new melodies, quirky dance moves, and developed a habit of inspecting every Uber for leftover, unopen, beer cans.
One individual taught me to question persistently, as initial answers often fall short. To aim high, expand my knowledge beyond my spoken words, challenge myself, and confront fears and habits I desire to change. I learned from them that making mistakes is a natural human trait, and principles and convictions must endure even as the world around us succumbs to corruption and superficial solutions. They convinced me that change is possible, standing for your beliefs is essential, and intelligence still thrives in the minds of our generation.
Believe it or not, time ages us swiftly, here, in this part of the world, faster than anywhere else. It feels as though we age a decade in a year or a month during the prime of our lives.
So, as I pen these words from my office in beautiful Beirut, an overwhelming sense of gratitude envelops me for each and every one of those strangers who once intersected my path, taught me, and changed me in ways I could not imagine.
And if you were to ask me now, can we stop time? The answer remains no, but occasionally, we can escape through a small window with a handful of friends and a bottle of wine to a world without worries, wars, and where we don’t have to grow up too fast. This, perhaps, is the closest we come to stopping time—a pause in time that endures a little longer.