I’ve struggled a lot in my life; from heartbreaks to dealing with physical and mental abuse to having a debilitating anxiety disorder for over the last decade. Truly, anyone’s problems can seem daunting when you allow them to box you into your own mind where those worries become your very world. They envelope your existence and weave threads of emotional pain that bind you to a perspective riddled with negativity and doubt. It can be nearly impossible to focus on anything else during those moments.
Here and now I wish to challenge you, and even myself, with invoking thought well beyond that self-made box of limitations and conflict. I want to remind the many that you and your problems are in fact not special. There is a mathematical probability that hundreds of thousands of other people likely feel the same as you do. Yet it’s so easy to feel alone; like no one else could possibly understand what it’s like to be you.
Now hear my words resonate inside your mind and allow them to push back all those thoughts that render you as you are in this moment. You are among the only known planet with life. You are surrounded by others just like you. Every corner and pocket of the planet is filled with life, from the birds overhead to the grass beneath your feet. There is life right beside you. So, above all else, heed this and never forget that you are most definitely not alone.
That thought is fascinating though. To think that we are the only known life in the universe. It must be safe to assume that we must be this unique and special creation, right? Well, consider this. The four most common elements in the universe are Nitrogen, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Carbon, and those elements that make the stars are also what makes us.
We are the same; we live, we die – just like the stars.
Now for just a moment, imagine you are looking at yourself from a top down view in a microscope. The perspective there is you as center of it all. Then zoom out just a bit further to see your city and all the other life bustling around. Expand to the sight of your country where life looks more still from there. Next, looking even further out and see the planet, then the solar system, and finally the entire universe. On the furthest reaches of the cosmic web is where everyone who has ever been has resided, within that pale blue dot that’s tucked safely inside the Milky Way. On that kind of scale even our planet is only a speck in the vastness. So, what are we?
We are as small as an atom in comparison to the universe itself.
Let’s think of this next part like timelines. So, the universe has the largest timeline of all with nearly 14 billion years and counting. While Earth and the Sun are each standing at about 4.5 billion years. Then, there are stars, and they live on average between 1 to 10 billion years. Now the average life of a human is around 80 years, and that’s if you’re lucky. Take a moment just to imagine each of those timelines spread out before you and overlapping. Those minuscule 80 years would not even be visible on the timeline of the universe.
That is my entire point to this. Your timeline is an extraordinary gift in this ever-mysterious universe. Why wallow with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s because your crush didn’t text back? Why get in a tizzy because your friend forgot your birthday? Why let irrelevant things clog up your timeline?
In the same light, don’t waste precious moments just getting by in your day-to-day life with seldom ebbs and flows. Take those chances, leap out into the world you inhabit, break out of the fear and limitations, and appreciate all the life around you.
Many people have made a mark on this world. Take Martin Luther King Jr. for example, he took his tiny window of time and used it wisely and without fear. He made a choice and acted where he was not obligated. In his profound bravery, King made a difference and paid the ultimate price for having done so. I’d wager he would do it all over again if he knew the beautiful impacted he made in this world well beyond his own timeline. He stretched his influence and his ideologies to the many that were not even apart of the world during his life – people like me. Yet I still feel his passion and see what good he left here for the rest of us.
Even that creates a spider web effect of the many before him. Those bright minds that dared to take the bounds of our technology and expanded them to ranges that most did not deem possible. Because of those who created computers, video cameras, the internet, and so much more, we can see those of our past as they were in the very moment they made their difference. The slice of time when they surpassed mere expectations of what it meant to be human, and they became more – they became a star.
I mean the kind of stars in the universe that we gaze up at on clear night. While they’re so vivid, it’s true that many of those stars have long since been dead. Still, they shine due to the lightyears that it takes to travel through space and into our line of sight. That is exactly how I view impactful people whose timelines have ended. I see them like stars that have died, but their light will expand far beyond themselves, and the rest of us will gaze upon their brilliance for a long time to come.
So yes, we are the smallest of pixels in the grand scheme of the universe itself. This point is not meant to devalue you and your timeline, but you urge you to cherish life and challenge your perspective. To escape that box, you’ve built around yourself on who you think you are and what you allow yourself to believe you can accomplish. Struggle is an inevitable piece of life as much as happiness is, maybe even sometimes more so, but this is not a reason to squander your light in the mere atom that is your timeline.
Dare to be the star that will shine throughout the cosmic vastness and transcend your own existence.