Book thoughts

Do you have a soul?

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore was a cute light read—one of those beach reads you read in a matter of a few hours. There’s a place for these kinds of books too.

Oona spent her adult life out of order, as the title suggests. Every year at midnight on her birthday, which happens to fall on New Years Day, she jumps into her body at a different age. 19 in a 51-year-old body, 20 in a 27-year-old body, and so on. Every year she writes herself a letter, giving herself a heads up for the year to come, but never spoilers.

This got me thinking about two things: what is our true essence and living linearly. Humans have forever had the construct of a soul, something that is not quite the mind and not quite the body (maybe a combination of the two?).

Rationally, I could say that this so-called “soul” is just a pattern of electrical currents firing off in our brains. Emotion is controlled here; instinct is controlled here; memories are stored here. And while I took neuroscience for my psych degree (spoiler alert: I didn’t do so well), this explanation doesn’t quite do it for me. it explains language and movement and perception. It doesn’t do enough to explain things like art or love or construction of reality (I learned about reality as a subjective concept in grad school. You can learn more about the theory here).

Whatever you or I decide to call it, that was the essence that left Oona’s body and was jumping through time; that was the part of her that continued to age, despite her body. And I know it was technically time traveling, but I considered it more her essence jumping to find the vessel that is her body.

And then I started thinking that our stories don’t necessarily have to be linear. Time might flow the same for us for the most part, but the way we grow and the lessons we learn can be out of order. I feel like humans are more cyclical in nature than they are linear anyway. We use both what has happened to us in the past, what we hope to happen to us in the future, and savoring what is happening to us in the present. All of these times makes us who we are.

Have you ever experienced a feeling like you’re too old to be feeling this way or that this should have been a lesson you learned a long time ago? Or the opposite where there are experiences we have that should not have happened to us so soon. I know I have had several times like this lately.

I don’t have any answers to any deep philosophical questions, and I wasn’t prepared to have such a light read invoke such feelings in me.

Do you feel like you’re in the wrong time or an old soul? Let me know!

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