It used to happen especially when I rode a motorcycle. I would notice the odometer now and then. And I’d only see it when the reading was just short of it, and then again, when it is crossed it.
1000, 5000, 10000, 50000…Every one of those milestones passed away in a similar manner. I would think that I ought to capture it when it happens. Take a picture of it perhaps. I wasn’t yet exposed to digital photography, and certainly not to social media. Not that I wanted to post the picture, if I could, bak then, but I would want to save it for posterity. To tell my non-existent grandkids, perhaps. Or sometimes just to look back and reminisce. After all, those two wheels had traversed long distances with me, over a significant period of time. They had seen many places, experienced many a challenge. None of it happened. I would miss every milestone. Until one day when I gave away my motorcycle.
Much later, it happened again. Only this time, I wasn’t sure if I ought to be proud of the milestone. 10,000 isn’t a small number. Not by my standards. Even though it fades in comparison with what others have done. Why compare? I don’t, but the way we are brought up, at times, it is inevitable that the mind throws up comparisons with others.
I don’t feel like celebrating that number. And in that sense, I am glad I missed the milestone this time, if at all it is one. It showed me a whole new world, exposed me to several new facets, and some old ones. One of them being strong feelings – be it love or hatred. I wonder sometimes if the hatred spewed around is nothing but love for the opposite – be it a person or a way of thinking.
More importantly, it changed the way I communicated. Brevity is the soul of wit, they say. And it certainly made me think of how I could say what I wanted to, within the constraints. I still impose the constraint on myself, even though they’ve freed us of it. Or have they, really? Willy-nilly, it pushed me to the shallow. Is it the nature of such a form of communication, or is it my inability? I would just skim and scroll, not really engage. And the few times I tried to, I would inevitably be disappointed.
The biggest blow though was that it took me away from here. It wasn’t a blow, but more of a surreptitious move.Looking back, I hadn’t seen it coming. Slowly, depth gave way to the exact opposite. I would amuse myself momentarily. I would be angry, and even that would be momentary. It is the online equivalent of window shopping – an act that I have seldom indulged in.
What has come of it? Some new experiences, new learning. And a significant loss, of words. Literally. In hindsight, the latter definitely outweighs the former. Here’s to 10,000 plus of those pithy footprints on the Internet. And with that, a reminder to myself, to engage more, to learn and work more deeply. And to write more.