In a century...

Candace Nirvana -  083012

"For what its worth, in 100 years, there will be all new people." - Men of a Certain Age

For the past few posts I've written about life changes and my perception of time.   Time is intangible, but is felt.   I am realizing the number of autumns and winters (my two favorite seasons) are fewer ahead of me than behind me.  It is making me think about destiny, legacy, and fading out.

I started reading Game of Thrones a few months ago.  I just finished the third book.  In this series, it chronicles the many dynastic families as they battles for the throne of the fictional kingdom.  The aspect I am appreciating is how certain families rise to power, and then after time, fade out (or are annihilated)  I am seeing my family is doing that.

There are no male children in my direct line of the family.  I have two beautiful nieces.  If they stay with tradition and have children, their children will not have the same last name.  This branch of the Sutphin line will die out.

At first I thought this feeling of temporary existence was similar to watching driftwood float by in a river's current.  We see it upstream and watch it speed by, floating around the next bend.  Now I am seeing time as me being the rock the in the river and the years are passing me by.  The river roaring about me now isn't the same river a moment ago.

We are not our born physical selves.  All of the cells that made up my body when I was born have died and been replaced countless times.  At some point, that ability to regenerate will be gone as well, either due to old age and the limited amount of times the cells can do that, or some other intervening influence.  My bets are stroke or heart attack.  My kind don't live to ripe old ages.

My Portrait in 100 Years - James Ensor
I saw James Ensor's self portrait sketch in an art history class.  We were discussing his art and his sense of humor.  It reinforced the quote above - "For what its worth, in 100 years, there will be all new people."  Like my body not having any of the original cells I had since conception, the world will be filled with all new people as well.

I am accepting that my life and fate will be forgotten by then.  My nieces will be long gone, their children will probably be dead as well.  I wont have a headstone for someone to read and wonder who I was.   I will be dust.  Right now is my time.  One hundred years from now will not.

The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I'd something more to say. 
- Time - Pink Floyd


  1. Not the same body - that is very interesting - I had never thought about the fact the body renews itself over time. That makes it, to me anyway, even more amazing that we can keep thought processes and memory intact over time while it happens. I will have to have some pondering time over a cold beer or two to digest my thoughts about that fact.

    I too have given a lot of thought to the fact I'm on the short side of my time line. I'm in my 63rd year. My mother died at 72, but her mother lived a valid life until 107. Average that out and I might get to 90. My Dad is 83 with a fair to poor quality of life. Men in his family rarely last that long so he is the high side of that average. Which is good considering 60 or so of those years he was a heavy smoker and drinker. So right now I'll use him as high and I think his dad died at about 70, so I get about until I'm 76. Average mom and dad out and you get about 83. So all this comes out as dry numbers to be statistically about 20 years left. Not much to make a long range plan with.

    Youth has that luxury and most never realize it. To your nieces, 20 or 40 years may seem an unreal time frame. Too long to think about. But as you and I realize, the perception of time line on that side of the timeline can fool you.

    I often use the story of a train I saw in my youth. I was along side the tracks, at night, about three-quarters of the way down a long straight run of several miles. You could see the trains light before you could hear it. The pin point of the headlight changed little as it came at me. It never gave any indication of the speed of it's approach. Then the sound came as the diesel neared, laboring under the strain of 120 coal cars. Then the shape of the engine just seemed to explode from between the trees and blow by me at a high rate of speed. It knocked me back a step or two and blew my hat off as the blur of cars went by. After several minutes, of feeling the wind and vibrations quaking the ground under my feet, the red light on the back of the caboose streaked by me. I watched it disappear as I had the the headlight appear. Only now I had a sense of the speed it traveled.

    So using the train as my perception of time example - I never saw how fast my past was coming - only to realize in my present blur - my future seems to be fading away into the darkness at an even faster rate.

    Also like you when my red light fades into the darkness for the last time. The last name of Wood in this branch of the family tree dies with me. My dad says when something goes wrong - "Don't worry, in 20 years no one will give a shit." So I guess in a 100 years it won't even cross anyone's mind. lol

    D.L. Wood

    1. I like your train analogy much better than my river one. It makes much more sense. In both though, I like thinking on how it is impossible to stop either the water or the locomotive. It will continue on moving no matter how much I try to hold them back.

  2. Karl, I have spent years working on family history, and I want to say that the family name doesn't matter over thousands of years. I traced one of our family lines all the way back to 900 AD and found my 33x great grandfather in Denmark. His name was Harald Gormsson, which meant only he was the son of Gorms. The "family name," Tyndale, did not evolve until centuries later when Harald's descendants settled in the Borders of England and Scotland. The first Tyndale was technically "of Tyndale," i.e., de Tyndale. Later the "de" was dropped, and when the family came to the United States centuries after that, the spelling changed to Tindell.

    My maiden name was not Gormsson or Tyndale or Tindell, but I am one and thrilled to be. It has always been an extraordinary family. My son's baby is due Oct. 1. She will carry on the family genetics no matter what her gender or last name might be. A part of me will live on inside her.

    Were Harald Gormsson and his daughters Tyra Haraldsdottir and Sigrid Haraldsdottir forgotten? Not as long as I remember them and pass on the family history as my Tyndale ancestors have done for two thousand years now.

    You always seem to tie into my thoughts. I am about to put up a post about the past and the present. We carry our past in the present. It never dies and never leaves us, at least not in this life.

    I do agree with you that time is our most precious -in fact our only - commodity. We must cling to every second of it. The future is the uncertainty, not the past and the present.

    1. Carla, Thanks for that perspective on the life cycles of the names. I think it is interesting that in Western culture, we put all the emphasis of the name on the patri-lineal side and ignore the role of the mother and her names.

      As for me, I am purposefully choosing to actively participate in the end of my branch. It is time to let it die out. Maybe I am exercising one of my only powers I have, the power to not have children.


So,what are you thinking about?