Moving Between Moments

 

“Life is a series of moments.”

It’s been said before, but usually without explanation.

We divide up time so that we can more easily gauge chronology and keep track of events.

This meeting will take place during a moment in time 3 hours from now.

That ski trip in Colorado took place during a moment in time 2 years ago.

These moments can last a long or very short amount of time, but the length is fairly arbitrary compared to what goes on during the moments and how they transition.

For example, I find that I shift into a new moment when I move to a new location, or even just visit a location for more than a a few days and then leave. I spent New Year’s Eve in Chicago this year, and the week or so I was there stands out as a fun and eventful moment in my memory.

The time I spent in Argentina was a whole lot longer (4 months) and consisted of a much greater number of experiences, but still is encapsulated within a single moment of its own.

In both cases, the moment was brought to an end by a change in geographic location: I left.

In the latter case I ended up jaunting through South America for a bit (another moment), while in the former I hopped a bus back to Columbia to spend more time with my family before leaving the country again (my current moment).

The thing is, we can control the changeover between moments, and it’s not necessary to change your location to do so: it’s about changing your perspective.

Say one day you decide that you’re not going to eat meat anymore. Boom, you’ve just entered your vegetarian moment.

Maybe you’ve come to terms with the fact that you’re gay or agnostic or a closet Republican, and from now on you’re going to act on those hidden desires. New moment, baby. Enjoy it.

Maybe it’s a new year and you want to start it off with a bang.

Here’s the question: what moment will you begin?

And equally important: what moment will you end?

24 comments

  1. Starting the “taking a class & this time actually putting the effort in that’s required to do well” moment. Finishing the “reading blogs and wishing I could do the same thing as Colin/Doctor Who/Jessica from my high school” moment.

    Great post.

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  3. You and Everett plan this? Some form of residual symbiotic bond from new years?

    What the hell happened there?

    Great post though. The idea of a moment is such a nebulous one. From “Having a moment” with someone to “Enjoying the moment” i’ve always seen moments as an indefinite period of time. My Last (LAST!) job working for someone else seems like one tiny moment, condensing those five months or so into a single existence.
    Some girlfriends or best friends seem like you have one never ending moment with them.
    It may be cliche, yet it’s what you do with those moments, how you engage them, that matters

  4. Colin,

    While I don’t completely agree with your definition of a “moment,” it’s the first time I’ve seen someone take a stab at defining it. Kudos for that.

    The paradox for me seems to be that each “moment” that you described is potentially comprised of an infinite amount of smaller moments, which produces several other paradoxes that I’m not entirely comfortably with articulating, but I think that anything that deals with infinite quantities becomes quite messy (I believe the Greek word for infinity translates “mess,” but I’m really digressing here, so I’ll stop).

    For example, when we were in Chicago with you and Nina and Everett et al., that was a “moment” for Ryan and me, but it was only part of a larger moment for you. Thus, and additionally, each moment is perspectival (viz. my moment is not the same as your moment).

    Sorry if this is a bit abstruse, but I do agree that life is comprised of a series of moments, it’s just incredibly hard for me to quantify what a “moment” is. That said, thanks for getting my brainwaves moving this morning.

    Joshua Millburn
    http://theminimalists.com

    P.S. Love the title of this post.

    • Of course you are right (in both a scientific and philosophical sense) about the definition of ‘moments’ and how they really work.

      I was more talking about how my perception has been arranging all of the adventures I’ve been in and lives that I’ve lived these past few years, and the conclusion that I came to was that each moment in time had its own rules, characters, role in the bigger picture, etc.

      Definitely a topic that warrants further discussion!

      • So I’ve been think about this today, and Ryan and I discussed it ad nauseam at a coffee shop this even (silly, I know). I keep thinking about Zeno’s Paradoxes—specifically the dichotomy paradox—in which Zeno “disproves” the existence of motion. That same argument (which, I know, it’s easily refuted with later post-Parmenidean mathematics) could be applied to disprove the existence of “moments” (viz. a moment could be divided into infinitely smaller moments, which could be divided again and again and so on). You’ll have to forgive me, I’m not well versed in the complete history of these things (I never completed college and I stumbled clumsily through calc classes), but it seems to me that, philosophically, these things are incredibly abstract to talk about. That said, I like your concept of arranging these moments into something more quantifiable and urgent and real, I find that to be refreshing and important; perhaps I’ll call them “events” instead of moments, but then again that just might be me playing with semantics. Either way, I enjoyed the moments I shared at the event with you and Nina and others in Chicago. See you on the flip side.

  5. Wow.

    Well, I’ll tell you what. Our trip across the U.S.A. was a MOMENT for sure. lol.

    I’ve missed you and your philosophies. Digged this post like whoa.

  6. In astrology, te rising sign shifts every four minute to a new degree of the Zodiac, which alters the quality of the moments we are experiencing. So for 240 seconds, a new degree is rising, and if you divide that into 60 4-second phases, I like to think of these 4-second phases as moments. I mean think about it….for four seconds…

    One-thousand-one…one-thousand-two…one-thousand-three…one-thousand-four…

    you’ve just had a merry little compact moment to yourself…

    Would have loved to been there in Chicago to join in the discussions, as I just met Everett out here in San Fran and I did his astrology chart at Om Shan Tea and we went to Yoga to the People for a serene transformation…

    Blessings on your next journey Colin!

  7. The moments I’ve had the past couple of weeks has been nothing short of explosive fun and mind-blowing experiences! No doubt due in part to your intellectually stimulating conversations. :)

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  12. I’ve been really thinking about this the past few months since I’ve decided to change my life by going nomad. I’ve always followed my heart, but looking back, it’s been a series of defining moments that has brought me to here. Moments that led me to this current thought, this current me, this current place. Each moment is important to the next. Should I decide to change my future, those moments led me there. For me a moment is a brief point in time, but I can see that it can be broken into varying chunks.

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