As a child, long before it was invented, I used to fantasise about a time when I could watch the TV I wanted to, when I wanted to, by fast forwarding past the boring stuff and only watching the fun stuff. Sure enough, the technology eventually caught up with me (or at least I think it has – erm, can you do it on Sky or Freeview?). The only thing now is I don't own a TV and haven't watched it for years. Still, the idea always appealed to me*. Aside from creating endless paradoxes, what if we could do this in real life?
There are pluses and cons. The pluses are numerous: we fast forward through the root canal at the dentist, the painful break ups, the humiliations and embarrassments, the hours waiting for buses and trains, the tedious weeks and years spent in the office. But the cons are, well, we also miss out all that – and so the sum total of our life left, our life of fun, equals about six hours and nineteen minutes in total. Ideally, with the remote control, we can play the fun times over and over with the remote control, but even that gets boring and besides, isn't that what Mel Gibson does in Lethal Weapon and Michael Douglas in Falling Down (to name just two), staring at photos or replaying old home movies. It's what psychos do when they have only the past to live for.
So the linear life is probably worth living, with its ups with the downs. But if life is linear, how come time plays such games with our lives – when young, summer holidays last an eternity, and as adults, weekends go by in the blink of an eye whilst a working day lasts about sixteen years. When we get older, our biological clock slows down, giving the impression of time going quicker.
I wouldn't do anything different if I could replay my life again. There would be no way I'd take advantage of my youth more than I did; it was lived as it was. I don't look back or look forward.
*Naturally, as mentioned recently, once I know I can do something, there's very little incentive for me actually doing it.