I Went Back on The Train and Spoke About Time

A conversation with myself from a year ago:

Good morning. Today is August 29th 2016. I’m sitting on the 7:20 AM train to Brooklyn with my former self. This memory in its original form in the perspective of another passenger would present itself  as a 21-year-old girl writing with a light blue pen into her pocket notebook. Yet given that I, a 22-year-old version of myself, have apparated into this memory, the notebook is gone, and the blue ink has disappeared into the page. Instead, on this bright and sunny day the written words are expressed in spoken words. Now, I see a passenger glances at us in confusion as if he’s trying to tell us apart.

“Are you guys twins or am I dreaming too early in the morning?”
“Something like that,” 21-year-old Hannah replies and winks at me.


“Would you believe that I’m on the train to returning to Brooklyn College?” she wrote on August 29th of 2016. When she wrote these words she had no idea that there was anything to be gathered for building. What she did was remove time from her mental calculations. This was new to her, she didn’t know then that time is her best friend, she did not have to fear that she neglected him.

“Would you believe that my chest feels constricted tight, tense. I’m nervous but looking forward,” she jotted down apprehensively. It was two years since she originally started at Brooklyn and having left for a year break she is worried that her mind was rusty about how to succeed. “I think this is the perfect time to return from exile,” she wrote in defiance to her nerves.

“Hannah of age 21 let me tell you what I have come to know. Let me show you all you have accomplished, let me elaborate on all you will begin to dream of.” She looks at me with excitement, “please tell me I’m dying to know this today.” I open my mouth about to tell her everything, but I can’t find the words.

Then I try to speak but no sound comes out. I force myself to cough, and the air reverberates through my vocal cords with sound. At once I feel relief; now I know that my speech is limited but I still have the ability. I suppose in this realm I have limitations of prophesying to her.


I choose my words carefully, I don’t want to alarm her with the absurd appearance of trying to make sound again. “Heres what I can tell you: I know you feel that the six months preceding have allowed you the mental capacity to really, not necessarily push full steam ahead (that would imply a sense of urgency), but rather allowed you the mindset to, as you say, ‘take in all the blessings and charms of being in college more meaningfully.”

“Yes exactly! I set out to college with a time scale in my mind, now it has vanished,” said Hannah of age 21. “I wonder what will be in store for me, what my classes will teach me, the people I will meet…”

“All I can tell you is this. You are correct about your ideas of time. Time is the most precious thing you can ever choose to neglect or waste. But the external ideas of time are erroneous and destructive. People outside of your body can only see the productivity that can be quantified with a slicing of a goal off a to do list, climbing a mountain expected of youth of age 21, and being on a path that directly leads to a salary of an adult. For themselves they may justify utilizing time for growth and self-reflexion, but they are limited to see the development within another person. I cannot tell you any more than this because all you will learn will come to you through your own efforts. Even if I could find the correct use of language to tell you precisely what you will come to know I realize now that doing so would steal the dream that time has in store for you. You must honor your time, but you also must honor your own pace. You should never reference time with a checklist, but as a stratagem for growth.”
The scene dissolves as if neither memory ever happened.

“We accept the present as something that is only temporary, and regard it only as a means to accomplish our aim. So that most people will find if they look back when their life is at an end…they will be surprised to find that something they allowed to pass by unnoticed… was just their life — that is to say, it was the very thing in the expectation of which they lived.” (Arthur Schopenhauer)

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