The Story of Split Seconds

Yesterday, we gained an extra second. The technical term for this is “Leap Second”. Apparently the earth is spinning just a bit slower in its axis these days, and the computers needed to add an extra second to make sure we stay in sync with the earth. Apparently in 2012, the last time we had a leap second, the internet crashed. It’s funny how the loss of working internet was a chief concern for many. Luckily, this leap second appeared to go off without a hitch.

Gaining an extra second in the context of an entire life story is not a big deal…or is it?

I’m sure I’m not alone in secretly loving that Gwenyth Paltrow Movie “Sliding Doors”, when one second actually does matter. In one split second, her life takes two very distinct turns, each creating an entirely different story. While there may be some plot holes and questionable choices in that film, it addresses the human need to know if tiny events really lead to greater consequences.

Often I’ve wondered if a second really does matter in the course of a life story. Most events take longer than a second. However, others can happen quite quickly; a kiss, a death, winning a race (where seconds truly matter), an accident, a birth, a natural disaster, the start of a first kiss (you would hope it would go on for more than a second), getting bad news, etc. The fallout may be longer than a second, but a second could perhaps be equated to the first word of a novel, which can often carry much more weight than realized.

Sometimes, also, you can be pondering and stewing about something for months, but then, in a split second, you realize that the answer has been there all along. Deciding to actually go for it and create The Storyologist was a long and short process for me at the same time. It was years in the making and yet, one day this past April, without overthinking, in one split second, I made my decision to go for it. Yes, I went back on it several times and overanalyzed it within an inch of its life before I actually committed to my decision, but a second is all it really took to plant the seed.

So, should we pay attention to each second, to see if the second is a main point or simply a footnote in our stories? 

I can’t imagine how that would really work. Often seconds are swallowed whole through Netflix, dancing, sleeping, Facebook, or those amazing conversations that take hours but seem to fly by. There’s no way to truly take advantage of every second to see where your life is taking you.

Despite all of that, I tried to make sure I was paying close attention to when 8 pm would strike yesterday, so I could experience the extra second. Turned out I may have missed it entirely due to inhaling guacamole at the end of a long day. I picked up my cell phone at exactly 8:0 pm and shouted, “It’s time for the extra second!” I waited, with anticipation. Then, my phone changed to 8:01 pm. I guess that story won’t go in my memoir.

In the comments below, I would love to hear what you think. Does a second really matter in the course of a life story?