Life In 4-D

24 February 2010, by A. Cedilla

(This post was inspired by Trent Hamm’s — of The Simple Dollar– “What’s Coming Next” post here, and another post by Philip Brewer –on Wisebread — here, on contingency planning.)

We are the only beings who can also live backwards and forwards. Living backwards is memory, living forward is day-dreaming.

  • Looking back, have you ever thought that you’d be where you are right now, when you were younger?
  • If that sentence wasn’t confusing enough — have you ever thought you’d be at this point in your life, ever, or at all?

When you get the answers, here’s the next question, you just fill in the blanks:

  • If anyone ever said to me (pick a number) years ago I’d be (doing what you’re doing now) I’d have (done something that showed my explicit yet polite disbelief to the person or persons in question).


This is the part where you realize that you’ve just been gently prompted to remember how much you’ve accomplished, and just how far you’ve come to get where you are now.

Some things you accomplish through sheer ignorance of what lay in store (learning how to walk, tie your shoes, read, when you were really starting out), and it’s only through looking back you’d shake your head in disbelief, saying “I’m lucky I didn’t know how hard it would be, otherwise I never would’ve done it. That being said, I wouldn’t put myself through that again for anything.”

Other thing you go through as rites of passage, or they were just the way things worked out. You move, you quit, you get fired or promoted, you break up, you break down…these experiences help shape you, and for the most part, helped mold the lens through which you view the world.

Looking back helps reveal strengths and insights you’ve forgotten in day-to-day living. Looking forward gives you something to work for, hope for, and share.

The only constant is change – Heraclitus

Way back when I was in high school, time was still thought of as the 4th dimension. Modern physics doesn’t hold that viewpoint anymore, but I’d like to stick with that definition, because it’s relevant to this discussion.

Like fish in water, we live in time. We don’t see it, but we certainly feel the pressure of its measurement.

Going back to one particular point, it’s our amazing brains that let us re-visit the past and envision the future. It’s also the one thing, aided by experience and imagination (see what I did there?) to help us best plan for the future we want to have. Life doesn’t always gives us the breaks we want, so it’s in our hands to make the breaks where we can, and be ready to take advantage of the ones that pop up from out of the blue.

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