February 16th, 1998.

What if tomorrow.

One of the most exciting things about life is tomorrow. By that, I mean that the fact that we have no real idea what tomorrow will bring is what makes life interesting. Indeed it is that which drives us on. We can plan and schedule but in truth, no one has a clue what tomorrow has in store for them.

I find the whole concept of time fascinating and in many ways scary. Time is the one commodity man has yet to control or get anywhere near controlling. I hope we never do. Imagine a world where you could see all the tomorrows and all the yesterdays together. A world where time had no real meaning. It would be hell. Without the uncertainty of tomorrow, there would be no hope, no challenge, no barriers to break. Time would turn into a meaningless desert and all of humanity would become refugees of our own creation.

I'm being dramatic of course. But imagine for a second that there was no tomorrow. Imagine that you had no future beyond today. How different would today be for you? What would you do? Who would you spend today with? Would you put right all the things that are wrong in your life? Could you even do that? And what of tomorrow. Where would you be then? Do you hope for an afterlife, reincarnation, an endless void? What do you want there to be?

Those are considered morbid thoughts. But in truth, how do you know that today isn't going to be your last? The truth is that you don't. We take things for granted and don't give a second thought to tomorrow other than to make sure we know what we have in our schedules.

So what am I saying? Where am I going with this? Well, I don't know. It's just that the whole issue of time has been playing on my mind a lot lately. I can't seem to escape from an image in my mind of a clock ticking. The clock is in slow motion while those around it are in fast motion. It's a very strange image and when I allow myself to explore it, it's quite a disturbing one too.

The other day I was sitting on a train coming home from work. As the commuters all tried to avoid eye contact with one another I sat there and thought about the different paths we were all on. I looked at each person and wondered what they were thinking about, where they were going, and not just then but in general. All of us sitting there were just statistics waiting to happen. Some would-be criminals, other the victims, some were happy, some weren't, some were wealthy but most were not. And all the time while the train trundled through the blackness of the tunnel under the River Mersey, the clock was ticking, the seconds were turning into minutes, the minutes into hours and so on.

When I got off the train I stood for a few moments and watched it leave the station and continue its journey. At that moment I felt an eerie awareness of all the paths of life around me and the countless paths open to me. It was as if I could see them all winding and weaving in and out of each other like thousands and thousands of cables. For some reason, I decided to walk a different way home that evening. I don't know why, it just seemed like the right thing to do. Nothing happened. I got home just a little later without any drama, not that I expected any.

Life is a wonderful thing and l love being alive. This is a view though that is not shared by everyone. The other week I was talking to a guy about what I had written in a previous Meanwhile Back in Reality titled "Ignorance or Arrogance". I told him how I look at the stars and fathom my place in all of this vastness. I told him how looking at the millions of stars out there makes me remember how important it is to not be wrapped up in your own life, and how it helps me to see beyond my own problems.

His view was so entirely different to mine that it played on my mind for the next few days. He said that such an activity would only serve to make him feel small and insignificant. Where I saw inspiration he saw condemnation. His words will remain with me, next time I search the sky for whatever it is I find there, his words will repeat themselves in my mind adding a jagged edge forever.

I think that sometimes we all lose sight of our mortality. We take everything for granted and bear little thought to the amazing things around us. We can all get so wrapped up in our own complications that we forget the fact that tomorrow is uncharted territory and the clock is ticking.