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I love the sunrise. I love staring out into the horizon in front of me, feeling the sun's glow, and losing myself in my own world of thoughts... I love being awake when the world around me is fast asleep, and staring into the distance at the tiny glimmering ball of fire as it shyly creeps into my world… Each sunrise brings to me a new day and with it a fresh start. An opportunity to do things differently, see things from a different point of view... but best of all, an opportunity to ponder over the day ahead, giving a new chance every day to live...

Monday, December 10, 2012

On being 16 and turning 23...


Birthdays always have a way of bringing out the inner ponderer and 'reflection-er' in ourselves. What used to be a highly anticipated day turns into a long-dreaded day - the day from whence the number you tell people in reference to your age becomes that one digit higher. And of course, numbers on their own are often meaningless (and sometimes even within a social context, they are still meaningless... society, how complex thou art...), but the realisation they represent that you are well and truly in the realm of being an adult is what makes it so huge to me. I am, touchwood, extremely grateful for every day I get to be on this Earth and for the love I feel every day in my life, but being an adult is Goddamnshit crazy scary! I'm sorry, there is no eloquent way to phrase that sentiment, as far as I am concerned.

I was talking to a friend today, about getting older. He is two years older than me and he, I swear to God, still sees me as that naive nineteen year old kid I was when I first met him on the steps of our university campus's main square. He was musing over the ludicrosity of me being twenty three, amazed at how that naive, jumpy nineteen year old is going to be leading the life of a twenty three year old in the big smoke. It is indeed an odd thought. Maybe.


However, my answer to his musings was this: age has nothing to do with maturity, rather it is about gaining life experiences enough to equip oneself to survive the complexities of an ever increasingly entropic world. That is to say, I am still 'immature' and 'mature' (whatever the hell these words mean...) all within a matter of minutes, and while this expression of self is within my control, the external influences that shape my daily life do not wait for me but rather depend on my ability to learn to co-exist with their forces. And growing up is about understanding better with each passing year how to handle the complexities of greater responsibilities and rights, that enable us to be a part of this ecosystem called Life. Whether you behave like an 'adult' or like a 'child' is immaterial - that is a personal evolution and is far too complex to attach an consensual number to. (And, more importantly, we must ask - does it need a number attached to it?)


Going through this logic (well, it SEEMS like logic to me... make of it what you will!) brings me some comfort that the dreaded two and three next to one another need not be so dreaded after all. I have a tendency to live in the past and I will miss the past with each increasing year, but perhaps that is exactly what 'maturity' is about - accepting that as the years unfurl, the distance between the sixteen-year-old-you and the just-very-very-old-you keeps increasing. However much you try and hold on to that thread that binds you to what you once were, in those seemingly perfect, rose-tinted visions of days, there needs to be a time when you accept defeat that the thread is very, very thin now and it is OK to let it snap because the memories are yours and no one except Mr. Alzheimer can take them away from you now. Accepting that the laughter and the tears are all your souvenirs, now. You no longer need to try so hard to grip that thread so hard. Really.


But hey, who says I am mature now, eh? Whatever! Haha!


PS: Don't you just love the word 'entropy'? When I was sixteen and sitting in a Chemistry class on a winter's morning, my Chemistry teacher (who I still see as one of the best teachers I have ever had) tried to explain the concept of entropy to us. More than its scientific and physical value, I remember being so intrigued by its philosophical value. She used an excerpt from Stephen Hawking's 'A Brief History of Time' to highlight the application of entropy in life to us, which I want to end this blog post on. This is brilliant reflection for anyone reading this.



"Imagine a cup of water falling off a table and breaking into pieces on the floor. If you take a film of this, you can easily tell whether it is being run forward or backward. If you run it backward you will see the pieces suddenly gather themselves together off the floor and jump back to form a whole cup on the table. You can tell that the film is being run backward because this kind of behavior is never observed in ordinary life. If it were, crockery manufacturers would go out of business.

The explanation that is usually given as to why we don’t see broken cups gathering themselves together off the floor and jumping back onto the table is that it is forbidden by the second law of thermodynamics. This says that in any closed system disorder, or entropy, always increases with time. In other words, it is a form of Murphy’s law: things always tend to go wrong! An intact cup on the table is a state of high order, but a broken cup on the floor is a disordered state. One can go readily from the cup on the table in the past to the broken cup on the floor in the future, but not the other way round.

The increase of disorder or entropy with time is one example of what is called an arrow of time, something that distinguishes the past from the future, giving a direction to time. There are at least three different arrows of time. First, there is the thermodynamic arrow of time, the direction of time in which disorder or entropy increases. Then, there is the psychological arrow of time. This is the direction in which we feel time passes, the direction in which we remember the past but not the future. Finally, there is the cosmological arrow of time. This is the direction of time in which the universe is expanding rather than contracting."

 -- A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking (1988)

PPS: If my blog wasn't called 'Lost in Thoughts', I may well have called it 'Entropy'. Hmmm.

3 comments:

sanyukta said...

Yet, there was a time when all we wanted was to 'grow up' ASAP.

I love the philosophical connotations of entropy too...but being a compulsive de-clutterer and organised-freak, I remember the first time that I came across the notion of the ever-increasing randomness in the universe, I was deeply unsettled :D

Wish you an year that is a little less crazy scary than you expect.
:)

sanyukta said...

Yet, there was a time when all we wanted was to 'grow up' ASAP.

I love the philosophical connotations of entropy too...but being a compulsive de-clutterer and organised-freak, I remember the first time that I came across the notion of the ever-increasing randomness in the universe, I was deeply unsettled :D

Wish you an year that is a little less crazy scary than you expect.
:)

--Sunrise-- said...

Sanyukta, lol, you have time to comment on my post but not post up a blog of your own! :( It's nearly been a year - get on it, please! :P How ARE you? How's med school? (I forget which year you're in?)

Thanks for the wishes. Haha! At the rate of the state of mess my room is going in, I might just become unsettled by the idea too! WHY is it so much easier to MAKE a mess than tidy it, sheesh!! :P But it actually makes me feel better in that, I end up thinking, 'what will be, will be'. (I am in a very hipster-style philosophical mood as I have a paper to submit and no motivation, so I keep muttering 'Aal izz vell' to myself... sigh. :P)