I’ll be a “Now” later

May 6, 2011

What if you lived forever? My AP Lit class come across a passage about eternal life the other day as we were doing an AP practice exam.

The passage defined two types of people that would be around if humans lived forever – the “Laters” and the “Nows”. As their names suggest, the “Laters” would spend their time thinking about all of the awesome things they could do with their lives: “In endless time, all things can be accomplished. Thus all things can wait”, and the  “Nows” would do everything they could with their lives: “In order to taste the infinities of life, they begin early and never go slowly,”.

The passage did not argue that one type of person was better or smarter than the other, it just noted the differences in the two.

It’s interesting to think about who in my life would be “Laters” or “Nows”. My mom would most definitely be a “Now”. I know some classmates who I would guess to be “Laters”.

Still, it’s hard for me to know what I’d be. I spend too much time looking at the sky and watching the leaves emerge in spring to be bona fide a “Now”, but I can’t sit still for long either. Lucky for me, I don’t have to choose what I’d be. With a temporary life, I can be both.

Life is so sweet simply because it will end. Would I even notice the birds singing on this cool, bright day if I had heard it for thousands of years before and will for years to come? Maybe not.  The thrill of polar bears, rising early to run to a chilly river or lake for a swim, makes me feel so alive. I’m afraid that if I knew I would live forever, that feeling wouldn’t be so precious.

That thought, that one day I could be apathetic towards life, is infinitely more scary than death.

We have such a freedom to be able to be both a “Later” and a “Now” in the same lifetime, in the same day. I’m going to celebrate this freedom by sitting under this tree just a little longer, and then going to work  on a job application for this summer. I hope you get to celebrate too.

Alice H.

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