My brother was a very smart kid. A little too smart. He was deep and insightful and sensitive but could still talk circles around you about space and computers and technology. It was a combination of this insight and incomparable intellect that led him to this belief: time is an internal phenomenon. And the more I reflect on this idea of his, the more I see it to be true.
We allow time to be the primary determining factor in our lives. We have to pass certain milestones and accomplish certain things by certain ages. If we do not, we inevitably feel as if we have run out of time to do those things. If we’re not a college graduate by 22, married by 28, making lots of money by 30, having children by 35, retired by 65, we feel as though we are failures. If we don’t achieve what society expects of us, we get down on ourselves. Who said that, as individuals, we have to follow an established timeline?
And this is where my brother’s words really resonate: “Time in an internal phenomenon”. Each person experiences different linear progress. Some might not find their calling until they’re past middle age. There are some writers who hadn’t discovered their talent until they were at the end of their lives. And that is another milestone we need to consider without time: life itself. As individual beings, we choose when we are ready to leave this Earth. 7 billion people are not meant, and are not necessarily willing, to live deep into their old age until they are decrepit with fading minds and bodies. Our internal clock knows when we have reached the right time in our life to abandon our physical being and live on spiritually. We do not die and just discontinue existing, we do not go to heaven and have deep discussions with God — we escape. We choose when we are ready to leave this life behind. We choose when we’ve had enough of the superficial, corrupt planet we physically exist on. We may not consciously know it, but our internal clock knows it.
But this whole idea got me thinking of another solely internal phenomenon: happiness. Our happiness does not come from those around us, what we accomplish, how soon in life we accomplish it. Too much of our happiness is determined by time. If you don’t find your calling in life by a certain age, you’re unhappy. If you don’t find a significant other by a certain age, you’re unhappy. If you don’t have children by a certain age, you’re unhappy. If you don’t get that raise by a certain age, you’re unhappy. See the pattern? We expect our accomplishments to make us happy. We are always waiting for the next thing to occur to bring happiness. But if we don’t reach these accomplishments that we set for ourselves, how will we ever be happy?
Happiness, joy, contentment are internal. They come from deep within us, not from outside occurrences. Too many things in life are defining factors for our happiness, when only who we are should be. If we wait for someone or something to make us happy, we never will be. We will always be waiting, never fully satisfied. Because that’s another thing, outward happiness is fleeting. Internal happiness is eternal. If you love yourself, feel confident and pleased with who you are and what you’re doing with your life, you will always be happy. And nothing external can dilute that happiness as long as you don’t allow it.
Each of these internal phenomena comes back to my brother. My brother died young. And I can scream to the high heavens every night and every day and ask why they would take him from me, so young, so long before his time. But what if it was his time? What if his soul was ready to escape this Earth, ready to escape his physical being, and exist freely and purely? Without time or happiness as determining causes to the success of his existence? Can I really argue against his internal clock?