The past is always tense, the future perfect #thoughts

I wrote this in 2014; not sure what prompted it then. A bit pretentious perhaps but not far from what I believe.

The quote in the title is from Zadie Smith – clever woman, that. And it’s what I understand when I think about Time’s parabola. We start out as little more than nothing, knowing nothing, understanding nothing and we fight through the ignorance of youth to some tipping point when we understand learning is not a fight but a gift; but as we grasp that truism we begin the slide back into the deepest ignorance, as the more we know, the more we understand we know nothing. And at the end of our life’s span we are as ignorant as that wee baby.

So the pleasure is surely in the future, where we find out what we don’t yet know; the past is banked, tucked away in our memories to be drilled into for pain or pleasure as we wish. But it is spent, accounted for and on the ledger. The future is Life’s pocket money, Le Pourboire des Dieux; it is free spending to be frittered away or invested, though as with all investments we know not what the returns will be.

So, to delve into the future is to give rein to our greatest hopes and deepest fears. We can embrace it as an opportunity sprinkled with stardust, eyes and arms wide open {doofus, you can’t embrace something with your arms wide open} and run shrieking with delight into the sea of possibilities or  we can poke it suspiciously with a stick to see if a serpent lurks within.

It sometimes seems that the older one gets the more the past, the lost investments, the unexpected serpents, act as a drag on our abilities to take another chance. Don’t let it; it’s gone.

As you stand in the dark, wondering what’s to come, take a penny (or your coin of choice), toss it high and, before the coin hits the ground, run like mad for the speck of light in front of you ; that light – it may be the on-rushing express or it might be the more glorious sunrise but take a punt: just make sure it isn’t you, grubbing around with your torch, looking for that penny; the returns are never worth it.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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25 Responses to The past is always tense, the future perfect #thoughts

  1. Ruth says:

    An imperfect future would do me fine, Geoff – just as long as we all have one! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ritu says:

    Thoughtful… Xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is so true. It’s a future not many predicted. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be a good one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. V.M.Sang says:

    No one can predict the future. That’s why we should always look at it with optimism. Remember the past and learn from it, but no one should live there. Even if it’s your last day on Earth, look at the future for everyone left behind. Will you have done anything to improve their lives, or have you simply lived for yourself?


  5. To be honest, I think it’s better to live in the present and forget the past and the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Erika says:

    Thought-provoking. I think it is better to run for the future than to get stuck in the past. But then again both don’t exist. The best would be to only take the lessons of the past, apply it well into the present for an improved future present… lol


  7. I see where you are going with this ………. always look forward with optimism and hope. But live also with what is, right now, with equanimity, optimism and hope. I really like that photo – that somehow captures you as I see you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Crikey – profound.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. JT Twissel says:

    “learning is not a fight, but a gift” – that should be included in the great quotes, Geoff! Brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. willowdot21 says:

    Nice legs 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jennie says:

    I love this! Yet it speaks to me a bit differently. The future is wonderful in my mind, with many perfect thoughts. My future happiness is not money, it is piling on the hundreds and thousands of spontaneous teaching moments with children. I may be poor in old age, but I will be far richer than most. Really.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      I managed to persuade both my children in their teenage years that I wasn’t about to fund their wish to accumulate stuff but I’d always support them in acquiring experiences. Cost me during their travels and volunteering but they’re now two well adjusted young people with a store of memories to dig into. I’m so with you on building up that protection against a chippy old age!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennie says:

        You knew the right thing to do with your children. In our old(er) age, those experiences will be what we draw upon in order to keep from becoming chippy.

        Liked by 1 person

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