Amidst all of life’s distractions, it’s easy to forget the profound nature of our mortality. And yet, it is the most dangerous thing one could possibly do. How mindblowing is it that in all the cosmos, or at least in our observable universe, we are the only life form that we know of? Sure, the math would suggest that there is other life out there, but so far, it is unbeknown to us.
In the endlessness of space, we were born from a planet just far enough from the sun for life to develop comfortably, unlike Mercury which is a hot hell planet or Neptune, an icy ball of gas. We live in a heavenly ecosystem filled with oxygen for us to breathe, radiating from beautiful trees. We have water for us to drink, bathe, and swim in that you can find flowing from captivating waterfalls, rushing from powerful rivers, or falling entrancingly from the heavens. We can gaze upon or hike mighty mountains overlooking serene valleys. The black hole at the center of our universe isn’t powerful enough to engulf us. We are fortunate. Earth like planets are rare. Life is even more rare. It matters. And we get one chance (proven at least) to experience it.
When you take a moment to remember that any moment could be your last, and actually feel the weight of that revelation, it leads you to take note of what you’re doing with this one shot you’ve got. Or at least that’s the case for me. Having lost my mother when I was eleven, and by that I mean, being at the funeral home and looking at my mother, swollen with embalming fluid, lifeless in a casket reiterated the relevance of my time here. Every single day should hold some sort of profound meaning. Now, what that meaning may be is dependent on an individual’s perception and we shouldn’t define our’s based on another’s. To one person it may be as grand as some Elon Musk type shit and for others, it can be as simple (and yet still very profound) as doing what they can for others in practical, every day ways. Whatever meaning you seek, should be sought daily.
If we knew today that tomorrow on our way to work, we may crash and become paralyzed from the waist down, we may value the use of our legs and wish we had gone hiking or even walked around the neighborhood more. If we knew we would get sick in a week and become bedridden for months, maybe getting out of bed wouldn’t seem so hard today. If we knew next month, someone we loved dearly would take their last breath, maybe that fight we had would them wouldn’t seem so serious. But the thing is, we do know this. It is just very, very easy to forget. “No man awakens in the morning thinking he will die that day. Not a saint or sinner. Not even a condemned killer We all know we’re mortal, and yet, we believe we will live forever,” Christopher Pike.
When we were kids, before the pressures of adulthood and society distracted us, we took time to lie in the grass with our friends and gaze up at the clouds as we tried seeing different shapes within them. We’d climb trees and feel as if we were on top of the world, the wind caressing strands of our hair so that they brushed our flushed cheeks, pressed upward at the edges of our genuine smiles.
Unless we were sociopaths, we felt natural empathy toward animals and nature. We instinctively knew when something was wrong. We had the urge to explore and discover. And a Michio Kaku points out, we are born scientists. We were alive. And at some point in our lives, something changed for most of us. Often, we no longer find time to go outside. We are too grown up to climb trees. Our smiles are often forced. Rarely do we even remember the sky hangs above us. “So much modern society has lost, I think, when they lost the awareness of the billions of stars overhead,” Christopher Pike.
We need to awaken the child within ourselves; that part that truly felt things, things like wonder, empathy, a sense of adventure. At what point, for each of us, did we dig a hole? At what point did drop this piece of ourselves into it? At what point did we begin filling the hole with dirt? Did we fill it all at once or one scoop at a time and if the latter, what inspired each scoop? What did we do as children that we don’t anymore? What did we enjoy then that we no longer have the time for? Who did we want to be? Did we succeed at becoming that? Start digging and dig until you find that part of yourself again; breathe life to it. Let each scoop of dirt be an illusion created by the societal system. Throw each one over your shoulder with determination as you work toward the child beneath the dirt. Let the child lying lifeless in the grave be truth, the ultimate truth that is “all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream,” Poe. Shovel out these illusions that we don’t have time. We have time for whatever we want to make time for. Nothing is important unless we believe it to be and we need to remember that what’s most important, is the fragility of our mortality.
Take time to question what matters to you and write it down. Then every day, find innovative ways to implement these meaningful things in your reality. Ask yourself what you want your life to look like and what steps need to be taken to get there. Then ask yourself every day, which of those steps can be taken today? Imagine that today is flat Earth and you’re standing at the edge of it, knowing that tomorrow you have to jump. What would you do before you jumped? Do it now. Go outside and climb a mother fucking tree because who gives a shit what people think of a grown person acting childlike. What better quality could one possess? Ask out that girl/guy you like. If they reject you, that’s ok! Your happiness and fulfillment doesn’t hang on someone’s romantic interest in you. And besides they may just say yes and ADD TO (not create) your happiness. That move you want to make it, make it. We are living in a time with cars and planes and technology. Implement that shit. EXPLORE! Go outside and take in the greatness that is our ecosystem, that which despite our efforts to separate ourselves from, we are very much a part of.
“We are but a speck in the universe but what a speck to be,” Kehinde Sonola. Of all the advice I could give anyone, I’d tell them to go somewhere with little light pollution on a clear night, lie on the bare grass and feel the sturdiness of the Earth beneath you and gaze up at the billion of stars above you. Let them be the reminder of our rareness. Let them be the reminder of your mortality. I feel almost anyone, with no other distractions, would inevitably find themselves there with their wonder, philosophy, and intuition and somewhere between these things, they could find any answer they may seek. We need more moments like that. So revel in them today because it may very well be your last.
Things to check out that helped shape this perception:
Cosmos with Carl Sagan! (Tv series)
Thirst Series by Christopher Pike. (Book series)
Kurzgesagt, particularly the optimistic nihilism video. (Youtube Channel)
Why We Should Be Optimistic About The Future (Youtube video with Michio Kaku)
Never Been – Logic
Arthur’s Song – Atmosphere
New Strings – Miranda Lambert
7 Years – Lukas Graham
If Tomorrow Never Comes – Garth Brooks
Live Like You Were Dying – Tim McGraw
I hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack