Reflections From Above The Swing: Perpetual Motion

Reflections From Above The Swing: Perpetual Motion

There's no such thing as a perpetual motion machine, so don't try to be one.

One thing that has often fascinated people about the pendulum device is its ability to keep nearly perfect time…for a while. The problem is that no device is a perpetual machine, continuing their movement in perpetuum. Movement of mass creates fiction, the movement decreases imperceptibly on every rotation, the machine slows, degrades, and on a long enough timeline, stops altogether. The machine that moves perpetually on its own potential is the perfect machine, and it doesn’t exist. To me, this is one of nature’s more valuable lessons. There’s always going to be friction, there’s always going to be problems, there’s always going to be something that seems to be slowing the movement of your life, degrading the arc of your swing.

However, this goes well beyond the convenient “life’s a bitch…” maxim. It’s simply that the momentum of our lives is not determined by how much those external factors slow us down, or even block our way. Too often we have a tendency to define our lives by things that happen to us, or the obstacles along the way. We tend to fixate on those things that lay in our way, rather than on the distance we’ve traveled, or the things that we’ve already overcome. There will always be friction, and there will always be conflict, and there will always be forces counteracting what we want our lives to be, or who we feel we should be. If anything, these preconceived notions can slow us even more.

The holidays are a time when we celebrate our relationships (and capitalism) with outward expressions of love and gratitude. We plan dinners, parties, moments with friends and family, and we work hard to be able to take the time and spend the money to do these things. Unfortunately, with all of the extra obligations that we create for ourselves this time of year, we often forget to take a quiet moment for ourselves, to reflect on the trajectory of our life as a whole. Sometimes it’s necessary to stop an remember why we’re doing all of this in the first place.

This holiday season I would challenge everyone to stop for a moment and reflect. Quiet the friction around you, think only of the things that keep your momentum going in the first place. It’s not an easy thing to do, but know that eventually the machinery of your life will come to a full stop as well, and if you’ve focused all of your attention on the things slowing you down, you will have missed the reasons you were moving in the first place.