The tick of time; something lost, something gained.


For everything gained, there seems always to be something lost.

In visible terms, I’ve gained an impossible amount in the past few years. I’ve learnt so much, travelled so far, lived more life than perhaps my entire life leading up to this time.

What could possibly be wrong, in the light of such growth?

What could there possibly be to lose?

The world has become so big and so small simultaneously. It’s become normal to be in London one day, and eating noodles in China only a few hours later, yet this only makes it crystal clear how much more there is to see and how little time there is to see it all. With every wondrous experience, the desire to not waste what is given to us overbears every thought, yet as each experience becomes normality, new experience itself becomes a drug.

Without the new, time ticks louder.

Whoever knew that a clock would have to be fed?

Time is hungry. Time well spent is hungrier.

That realisation of the value of time forces a view to what was valued in the past. You suddenly realise how much has passed, and how much is lost. Places called home fade, replaced by houses without the memories. Old dreams become nightmares, or at the very least turned away and forgotten. Close friends drift apart, and although they may well mean the world, the world has replaced them, and perhaps a mutual feeling of being forgotten exists, although the opposite is likely the reality.

In fearing the ticking clock, I’ve lost the trust of people who played a part in my being. I’ve lost any of the small sense of belonging I ever had. I’ve lost safety and security and let unpredictability in in its place.

Yet as there is something to gain for something lost, there is something lost for something gained. The fear of the tick of time has brought appreciation.

Appreciation for every tiny passing object, moment and thought.

It may be normal  to swap one country for another, but I see value in each place I go, which I never sensed before. Even when complaining about the frustration of Beijing life, looking up to a grey poisoned sky, I think about how perfect the blue days are.

When an old face goes by, whether I stop for a conversation or not, a feeling of thankfulness washes over like a flood. I might not see that face again for months, or years, or maybe even ever again; it becomes essential to revel in the moment while it’s still there. I’ve developed more love for friends than I’ve ever had before, despite having not seen many for a number of years.

In losing any feeling of security or stability, any moment of a relative return to such things is an incomparable bliss, even if there now exists a need to avoid staying within that stability.

Any negative feelings now quickly fade, driven away by their innate pointlessness. Time doesn’t stop for misery, but misery eats time. It doesn’t deserve a feast.

Through the experiences of the past few years I have gained and lost so much. In both gaining and losing in such boundless measures, one intense lesson has been learnt.

Appreciation seems to me now to be the balance between gain and loss; the importance of it only becoming clear due to a heightening of both extremes.

Appreciate everything. the new will appear and the old will pass, but there is infinite value in both. The tick of time won’t stop, so each moment must be loved. We only have so many ticks, each one appreciated is a victory to the experiences gained, and a defeat to the experiences lost.

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