What if Time Were 2 Dimensional?

I recently heard a scientist describe time as 1 dimensional, as opposed to 3 dimensional space. Time moves in one direction – forward into the future, not backwards.

But don’t you ever want to travel backwards in time?

I hear women say, “My husband has changed. He’s always out. When he’s home, he’s drinking, and when he’s not drinking, he’s angry. I want to get back the man I married.

That man from the past exists only in memory. In the future, that man won’t be who he is today.

I hear parents say, “My teenage daughter lies in bed all day, headphones in her ears, iPad on her lap. She’s belligerent every time we ask her to do something. I want the sweet girl she was 2 years ago.”

Time 2 dimensional 1.jpg

That girl is morphing into an adult. There’s no telling who she’ll be next year.

I hear people say, “My high school boyfriend was the love of my life. I want to find him and feel that happiness again.”

When I was 18, I met a boy my first week in college and was infatuated with him for years. Our relationship, if you could call it that, was mostly one-sided, my side. He saw me when it worked for him, sporadically. I spent most of my time waiting for his call. There were lots of boys who wanted to date me then, but I got stuck on him.

Why? I can speculate. I was 18 and innocent. He was standoffish. That felt safe. He was challenging. That felt electrifying. He was the boy who was always just slightly out of reach.

Time 2 dimensional 2

I married someone else right after college, but I dreamed of my lost true love. I had fantasies of seeing him again someday and orchestrating a revenge. I’d make him fall in love with me, then I’d walk away, just like he did all those years ago.

When I divorced, I contacted him by using information from a mutual friend I met at a college reunion. She warned me, “He doesn’t look like he used to. He’s gained a lot of weight. A lot.”

10 years gone, I arranged to meet him in New York City. When he turned to me, I saw an extremely large man with the warm smile and beautiful green eyes I remembered.

“You look exactly the same,” he said, wrapping me in a bear hug. “I know I don’t.”

Time 2 dimensional 3

Sometime later, he visited my home. I dug up old journals I’d written in 5 spiral notebooks, all about him. He flipped through the pages in surprise and read what I’d written. “This is amazing,” he said. “You were in love with me.”

I nodded. “I was obsessed. What a quirky kid I was.”

“What an idiot I was,” he said. “You were stunning. You still are. I wish I’d appreciated you. I wasn’t very nice.”

“We were kids,” I said. I meant it. I held no bad feelings for this man.

I told him, with a laugh, about my revenge fantasy. “It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?”

In my fantasy, I always thought I would travel back in time to the broken-hearted girl I’d been. But now, in the present, I felt no desire to hurt him. I had only fond memories of our shared college days.

His romantic life was limited though. He wasn’t happy. He began calling me a lot.

“You’ve put a spell on me,” he said. “Now I’m obsessed with you.”

My revenge fantasy came true — now that I didn’t desire it.

“It’s not me you want,” I said. “We have different lives now. You’re being nostalgic about your past.”

“It is you I want,” he said. “Is it hopeless?”

It was. I had no romantic feelings for him.

We became friends after that. He visited me a few times. He invited me to his wedding. We talked a few years after his divorce.

Time 2 dimensional 4

Occasionally, I have romantic dreams about the 18 year old boy he’d been. In my sleep, I’m still in love with that boy who no longer exists.

When I have the dreams, I sometimes call him and talk. That always brings me back to the present.

Time is not 2 dimensional. As far as we know.

Have you ever tried to travel backwards?

15 thoughts on “What if Time Were 2 Dimensional?

  1. I am sooo disappointed. My Mark 1 time machine caused a modest fire (burned down the back shed), and Mark 2 would have been ready next month. Now I’m going to have to put the superconducting magnets on e-bay. BTW, great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Will your next model take us back to the past? It seems like that’s the destination everyone wants to travel to. Forget the future — it’s too foreign. No money in it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely, the past is the only place to go. You travel back, step on a butterfly or whatever, and create paradoxes, the basis of so much sci fi. I should probably mention that I do in fact have a time machine, but it’s a boring computer simulation to study the time travel paradox.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow! I’d love to see that boring simulation. What about a multi-verse transporter so I can visit my alternate worlds and see how my choices not taken turned out?


  2. Wow, love the insights yet again and this post. Such a helpful way to think about how people change through time. Helpful insight to let go of the past and who people used to be – including myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Haha! I remember so clearly! You were smitten, then bitten. Finding the right partner is like climbing a ladder. You’ve got to step on a lot of rungs to get to the top, and that’s without knowing whether you’ve got a foot-stool, step-ladder, or extension ladder. All necessary passages, like trying out a lot of different jobs before you’ve narrowed down what you really want.Or, as my athletic coach husband likes to say of the reason for all those past relationships: “Practice, practice, practice.” Simple logic.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That girl is morphing into an adult. There’s no telling who she’ll be next year.” This is very helpful to me as my personality changes multiple times from when I was 16 to 21 and I felt ashamed of it. I never thought of it as morphing into an adult instead of just being “weird.” 🙂


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