I Am, Then

December 12 2012

Where are you right now? On your couch at home? At your desk at work? Standing in line at a coffee shop? Wherever you are, you will always be there. Wherever you were an hour ago, that "you" will always be there. Every moment exists in time. Think about it. It then follows that whatever you will be doing in the future....is already happening. Take it however you wish ("What about free will?"), but think about the novelty of it; specifically, what it means to be "in the past."

You will always be sitting at your desk. Or on your couch. This very second -- the one right now -- now -- ......now -- of you reading this sentence, remains. Forever. Sorry if you think it was wasted. But you (and I) will forever be sitting in front of a computer at work or stuck in traffic or saying goodbye to a friend or preparing for surgery or some kind of therapy or going through a bad breakup or holding in a heavy, dark secret.

That breath you just took? You'll be breathing in for all eternity, in a sense.

Now doesn't that make you feel sick.

But you have to remember that everything exists somewhere in time. That includes the day I made a fool of myself in class and broke out of my shell; the best present you were ever given as a kid; the best end-of-finals party ever thrown; the day I found out he liked me at all; that reassuring phone call; the day she decided to spend time with you instead of him; all those days before taking on that secret.

Sometimes, I have to focus on the past to remember who I am as a person. My grandparents are all young and happy at one point or another, however short-lived their childhoods may have been. She's gone now, but Nicole exists somewhere in time as my first friend in high school, and will always be walking up to me to say hello. I am still perched on the steps of Casa Malaparte with a sketchbook. I am literally running -- racing my friends and teachers -- through the streets of Istanbul with the prayer calls from the mosques are echoing around me. I am a baby playing in the creek by my aunt's house; I can barely walk on my own. I am wading by myself halfway across the stream, searching for interesting rocks. I am taking a series of pictures by the water and proclaiming my wedding vows on a nearby hill (which won't happen until 2014, assuming the world won't end on the 21st).

It's what happened before that shaped me. It's the thought of their eternal existence that continues to have an effect on me. If I linger on the subject too much, I begin to feel closed in and surrounded by everything that has ever happened; all the people that used to live in this house, all the big trees that used to be seeds; all the papers and posters on the walls that were printed in rooms far away from me.... Yet at the same time, it's comforting to know that I am part of the fabric of time and place; I contribute to our entire history and future.

I am always utterly aware of where and when I am. I am now. I am then. I am, then.

Anyway, if you really read all of this (I know it's long, I'm sorry), thank you for the opportunity to email you all. And welcome to Einstein's Theory of Relativity, if you weren't familiar with it before. If you know more on the subject and wish to share, or if you're an architecture nerd like me and want to talk design, feel free to respond!

P.S. - Just so you all know, I sent this to the Listserve people at 12:12:12 on 12/12/12. So what you're reading now is that moment - a time stamp which won't repeat for another century. BAM. Enjoy your day!

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Philadelphia, PA

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