Every time I open my browser there is a countdown to my death, according to some actuarial table. It’s a big hit at work. Anyway, broadly speaking I am expected about 21000 days to live [controlling for almost nothing].
I turned 24 earlier this month. It is an intimidatingly small number. It also maps cleanly to a clock metaphor, being born at midnight-
- Just as I am in actual mornings, the morning of my Life Clock finds me genuinely helpless and useless to everyone until maybe 6am. Being very generous to myself.
- I then spend the daylight hours in state-sponsored education, where I learn to sit very still and presumably something else. 12 hours of that. 6pm.
- I then spend three and a half hours at Carnegie Mellon, where I learn things, make some videogames, do some research, dip my toes into startupland and then more or less pull back. It’s approaching 10pm and I’m exhausted already.
- I have been an “adult” in the workforce in New York for almost two hours. I’m a consultant, a job that I didn’t know about when the sun was up. A significant amount of my social interaction occurs over platforms that were invented this afternoon (older than I would’ve expected, really), and much of my correspondence is with people who I have never or rarely met in-person. I travel fairly often. My girlfriend and I got a cat. On the whole, I’m quite happy.
- I guess I’m a few seconds into tomorrow, but that doesn’t really mark the start of a new phase in my life (unless you count my recent promotion, but that seems too small a change at this scale). The idea of looking back on *two* days, 24 years into the future, creeps me out.
Like most people, I tend to break down my personal narrative in more locally relevant ways. So, though it may be a cheap and tired metaphor, the clock did allow me to put a few things into a broader perspective than usual: for instance, the sheer amount of time that various large institutions have invested in me, or the amount of time I’ve been alive where I’ve had very little agency. Like every person on the planet, I fancy myself somewhat special and a vastly different person than the “me of a Few Hours Ago”, though I (and everyone else) continue to draw a line of continuity back through my prior Selves. It is sometimes startling to compare distances between different prior Selves.
At both ~5am and 5pm, I managed to crash a vehicle into a tree (I started driving young- a story for another time). Also, I have great difficulty remembering the names of most of the teachers I had in the morning. Is my memory terrible?
Currently reading: Martin Gurri’s “The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millenium”. I also hope to finally really sit down and wrap up Impro, which has sat partially read for months.