Thursday, November 5, 2009
How do You Measure a Year?
Time is a very weird thing. It’s this odd little ticking that we can never stop, that we can never control, that never disappears yet we never fully gain a sense of it.
I cannot believe that it is November 4th yet again. It makes absolutely no sense to me. It seems illogical that 365 days have passed since we elected our newest president, since I was sitting in my living room, toasting with my friends and holding hands and sniffling and Barack Obama was officially as the first African American president of the United States of America, land of the free.
And now, 525,600+ minutes later I wonder what has happened in all that time.
Days after the presidential election we learned that Prop 8 passed in California. Weeks later I attended a Prop 8 protest in a plaza in Chicago. Weeks after that I went shopping on Black Friday on the Magnificent Mile while news reports continued warning us about the doomed economy. I soon became old enough to stay out past legal curfew, buy cigarettes and porn and lottery tickets. New Years hit and I was left celebrating the last year of the decade with the same group who helped me welcome in 1999. Snow covered the ground and I quit kickboxing to become an avid Scrabble player. Snow melted and I still stayed inside, preferring to be the host than leave the coziness of my home. I travelled to Peru and decided I could actually influence the world. I decided I’d mêlée with the Ivy League in New York. I cut down a tree. I graduated High School and worked twelve hours a day for twelve weeks. I walked a marathon and a half. I got in trouble for writing too much. I went to the zoo. I packed up half my wardrobe and flew to the greatest island in the world to further my education. I unsuccessfully stalked Padma down 5th Avenue. I survived my first round of midterms.
And now what? How has my chain of insignificant events helped the world in any way? In the last year, how much has Barack’s message of change, and hope, and si se puede, affected our daily lives? How much time does it take to improve the world and why aren’t we all taking greater steps towards achieving this?
In complete repetition of last year, it was with great sadness I learned that Maine’s voters decided to ban same sex marriage, exactly like the injustice in California a mere 365 days ago. In the time of Obama have we not learned anything about fairness? About equality and optimism and faith? Can we not learn to merely trust and accept each other for our differences recognize each other’s true potentials as human beings?
Time is truly an odd concept. It keeps going, whether we like it or not. And bad things will keep happening as the clock ticks away, each second marking another moment in time we can never retrieve. And while I can recognize many drastic and positive changes in my life since this time last year, acknowledging the fact that not much has been altered, for myself or my community, upsets me. It makes me want to do more. To be more vocal, to express my opinions more openly and have more influence. I’m inspired to take more action, to put my full capacity into everything I do, make it the best I can make it, and perhaps make an impression on the world in the next 525,600 minutes.