Decreasing Significance

“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.” -Kurt Vonnegut

As I get older, I find that individual events become less and less significant. Whether it be the highs of the holidays or the lows of losing of a loved one. The extremity of the emotion inherent in these events becomes increasingly tempered. While it is slightly reassuring to know dealing with the more difficult times in our lives becomes easier, losing the childlike wonder and excitement of youth seems like a steep price to pay.  At a time when so much of life is rushing by, this trend is disturbing to say the least. As this is likely to only become more acute, trying to determine the reasons behind it is the only relevant course of action.

In order to cope with life, a certain level of desensitization is necessary. Many major religions, including the Jedi Doctrine , advocate for the suppression of emotion on some level. Considering we start life as emotional powder kegs alternating from intense happiness to bouts of soul-crushing sorrow (like some sort of bi-polar infant) and slowly learn how to bring our emotion under control as we become older, it is no wonder we continue to become less sensitive to the events in our life. In fact, becoming a fully functioning human requires it. However, as we rely less on emotion to guide us and more on logic, it is inevitable we see individual occurrences as far less significant than the larger picture they fit into. Speaking of which…

As we age, we become more concerned with long-term planning for the future. As a child, the biggest concern I had was whether I should watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Sesame Street. There was no concern regarding where I would live, what I would eat, or the job I would have. Slowly, but surely this carefree life was replaced with one concerned with how the future would look. Would I do well enough to get into college? What did I want to be when I grew up? What do I need to do, to be ready to make the oh-so-epic transition into adulthood? While all of these questions were or are important, they make it far more difficult to focus on things occurring today. When one’s focus is elsewhere, things always seem less intense.

Life is busy. A pretty obvious assessment, no doubt. Between holding down a job, volunteering, being an engaged citizen, and embarking upon the occasional nega date, one can hardly be blamed for losing the ability to ascribe any lasting significance to individual cases. Even if you choose to ignore your responsibilities and engage in the bare minimum of activities required for your survival you probably do not have a lot of time. As they say, some of us are so busy doing nothing, we can not accomplish anything. In either case, as time continues to be filled with important (or in some cases, unimportant tasks) things just fail to have the impact they once did.

I would like to say I have the solution to this problem, but I can’t. In fact, it seems like the phenomenon only gets worse the older one gets. No amount of mustache time travel will allow me to return to an era when things were more significant. The only solace I find, is as things become less extreme in their effect on me, I slowly become more equipped to deal with whatever the universe decides to throw my way. So basically, I’m becoming a super hero. If anyone wants to start a Justice League, let me know.


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