I should really be revising right now. There’s a textbook right next to me. I was supposed to have written six pages of my Socialism Overview for my Politics Exam this weekend, and I’ve written one.
But oh well! Onwards. I have a blogging itch, and that’s far more important than my A-Levels.
Time is funny, isn’t it? I always come back to time, some way or another. Most of my favourite films and shows explore time. Some of the best films I’ve seen this year (Logan; Moonlight; La La Land) are intrinsically about time. My favourite TV show, Doctor Who, is, well, a time travel show. I work at a retirement/nursing home, where I see the effects of time in every shift of mine.
Like many, many others my age, I’m undergoing an important transitional period in my time on this little rock: gearing up for university. The next level in the video game of education. When I started college, I considered it a big leap; it marked the conclusion of my time in school, of compulsory subject education. I would never have another Maths lesson, nor a PE one. An entirely new environment, with thousands of new people and new dynamics and experiences. In hindsight, it wasn’t so much of a leap at all. The college is right next to my secondary school, and I live five minutes away from college, and the majority of my friends went onto the same college, so I haven’t really had to deal with an abnormal amount of change.
University, however, is an entirely different playing field. A new city – “jolly old London,” as Steve Trevor described it. A new way of learning. A new life, quite frankly.
The notion that I’m beginning a new life is both daunting and exciting. It’s exciting because it’s an opportunity to reinvent oneself in accordance with how I want. It’s exciting because, well, knowing that there are certain people whom I’m never going to see again, and who I can easily delete off of my social media with no consequences (I don’t hate anybody, but there are swathes of people whom I find… irritating), is an extremely liberating feeling. It’s exciting for all of the reasons that university is exciting. And it’s daunting for all of the reasons that university is daunting.
This transition to this next stage of my life has prompted a fair bit of reflection on what is past. I like to think that I’ve done a tremendous amount of cool things (because I am cool, of course), in a fairly short amount of time. I don’t have many regrets. If I can only say one thing about my life here, in Winchester, it’s that I will have plenty of memories. Of that time I was an online film journalist. Of that time I interviewed the Iron Man 3 filmmakers. Of that time I organised a Charity Gig at college, which, against all the odds, was a great success. Of that time I made a bunch of bad-to-good short films. Of that time when myself and my best friend stripped out of our school uniforms on-stage at the Leavers Assembly to reveal Batman & Robin costumes underneath, performed to an edited medley of the classic stripping theme and the original Batman theme. Of that time… well, I could be here all night.
However, this evening has also prompted numerous smaller moments to come flooding back to me. Moments and times and conversations which had been discarded to the dustbin of my brain. Nothing particularly special happened; I was just going through old photos on my phone, and I ended up chatting to my old Youth Theatre group, where we caught up a bit. We were like a family, back when we all did drama together. When I didn’t have A-Levels to revise for! Ha.
As I grow older, and my forehead furrows and my skin fades, those moments will be truly lost. They will be irrelevant, displaced by a lifetime of experience and memory. That’s all memory is, really. The displacement of the old with the new, continuously, until you clock out. Perhaps those important memories I mentioned (just a few examples, of course…) will too become lost in the aforementioned dustbin. If I ever book myself into a care home, or if I am ever booked, will the people I am friends with now remember me? Will I remember them, or anything that we’ve done together? I don’t know.
But does that matter?
Beginning a new life is daunting because you don’t have any idea what’s coming. I don’t know what is going to displace my memories. A lack of security is bad for the individual, as the wise conservative would say (there’s some Politics revision). Perhaps there is little else interesting awaiting me, and when I’m aged and weathered, I shall still be counting the successes and failures of my childhood and adolescence. Or perhaps my life will be fantastic – absolutely fantastic – and, as I said, they will become lost in the dustbin. When we’re young, we have a tendency to believe that everything which happens is the absolute be-all-and-end-all of events in the history of ever. There have, undoubtedly, been countless instances where I’ve thought to myself, “yup, I’m never gonna forget this.” And do you know what? I can’t recall most of them.
Amidst all of my posturing and melancholy, I am certain of that one thing: while everything matters to us in the present, very little matters in the long run. The friendships I hold dear today will fade. The arguments, the laughter, the political chaos, and everything else which comes with the upheaval of adolescence will cease to be relevant. One day, I will no longer recall why I disliked somebody, or why they disliked me, or who that best friend’s name was, or why the group was structured that way, or why I did that thing. Whatever the thing may have been.
That will be the importance of my photos and videos – my back-up brain. My encyclopedia of myself, which exists separate to my crude matter of flesh. What they remind me of now is how different I used to be. I used to be an entirely different person, it feels. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I found myself in a multi-Doctor-esque adventure, with current me and younger me meeting. To be frank, if I were writing Young Jasper as a character in one of my screenplays, I don’t know how I would write him. I know how I’d write myself in the present moment, but I said that when I was Young Jasper. Just as it did then, I will cease to know the current rendition of myself sooner or later. I’d like to echo the words of the Eleventh Doctor, in asserting that I will not forget one line of this. Nor one day. Unfortunately, the hollows of my brain are not quite as vast as those of the Doctor’s.
My old boss (from when I was a blogger) once told me that I have the mind of an old man, trapped inside the body of a teenager. I was 12, or 13. It’s a sentiment which has been fed back to me numerous times. I’m inclined to agree. After all, what business does a 17-year-old have standing here, pretending that I have somehow lived a full, exciting life? My almost-eighteen years on this little rock will, probably, not even make up 1/3 of my existence.
I don’t have a conclusion to this, besides the very obvious sentiment that time is odd and excellent and evil.