People tell themselves, “I am special” or “I am unique.” We think we are entirely different from one another and stand out. Our problems are magnified, actions over- analyzed, and experiences cherished. Yet, each one of us is one out of 7 billion people and counting. The world population keeps growing, people are discovering new and life-changing things, science is constantly updating itself, and the earth keeps spinning.
I’ve always thought that my thoughts, experiences, appearance, social interactions, and general way of behaving was very important; like I had some influence on people around me and that I was someone special. Truthfully, I am not special and neither are the other inhabitants of the vast and beautiful earth. We are all just average human beings living on a gigantic mass of land that miraculously evolved to sustain our existence.
The earth is a miniscule bundle of rock in an unfathomably large space continuum. All we ever were, are, or will be are a species that has outlived and will be outlived by other forms of life. Everything that has ever happened to you or me – anticipation, disappointment, fear, unpredictability, grief, jubilance, suffering, happiness — will eventually be lost. It’s a humbling thought, really. We all pride ourselves in our successes, rightfully so. But we also feel shame for our failures, again rightfully so.
I tend to build things up in my mind and dive into a depth of over-analysis. My problems suddenly become much worse than they are and I feel like I can’t take control of my life. But then I watch something like Cosmos or spend a couple hours people-watching when I realize the true insignificance of it all.
By “all” I quite literally mean all: the good, the bad, and everything in between. Each individual has had defining moments, a time when they were in love, a time when a loved one passed away, a time when nothing seemed right, a time when it seemed that everything was as close to perfect as possible. Of course these life events are very important and are embraced. But once you zoom out and realize that each human being has these types of experiences, you will see that we actually are all the same: the human race that has miraculously evolved into living, breathing, speaking, loving, fighting, and adventure-seeking people.
We all want to optimize our time on this earth, that much can be said without a doubt. The “ideal life,” however, doesn’t exist. We work on ourselves every day to get closer to that optimal idea. One of the greatest things you can do for yourself is look at the stars on a clear night. This is the closest thing we can all do to understand the small size of us and the enormous size of everything else. We might not know what’s up there; but we sure as hell know how infinitely large and beautiful space is.
I just want to make the distinction that, of course, we all are different from each other. Everyone has their own desires, goals, failures, travels, and discomforts. Our life purposes define us as individuals. But all together, we are one species, that when compared on a space and time scale, are microscopic. Life has existed before us and will continue after us. While we are average on a grand scale, I’m sure you are all wonderful people.