Isn’t it odd (and simultaneously, beautiful) that we are here? I mean, living. Here, in this world.
Your parents could have decided that they actually don’t want to have a baby. Bham! No you.
Or your parents could have had sex a second later. Bham! Bham!
Or your dad could have been just too shy to hit on your mom at Starbucks. Bham! Bham! Bham!
The fact that you are here with your exact set of DNA is pure serendipity. Luck. Chance. Probability. Nothing else. You could have been a different person, or you could have not been at all.
The fact that it is you that is here is the beauty of life.
Most of us tend to get too self-absorbed and feel ‘chosen’. We are ‘the ones’. We think that yeah, all of it is chance, but we are here to do something great. We are supposed to. We go along life as if somebody is watching, as if there are hidden TV cameras everywhere and your each move is being judged, talked about, discussed. Life has something in store for us, totally, you’ll see.
But it’s not like that.
The planet was spinning for 2 billion years before you came here. You are here for approximately 80 years, maybe more. You’ll go away, and the planet will continue to spin. We are nothing more than a flash.
You, me and all of us here are not for a reason. Neither is there any plan. We are here just because we are. And if you think about it for a sec, nobody really asked us whether we wanted to be here or not. Life doesn’t owe us anything.
I was recently at the beach in Sicily, watching the sea waves come and go. I looked far into the sea, absorbing its blue vastness. And a thought came running through my mind: it will be here when I am gone. It will be here when everyone I know is gone. People are born, people die, but this sea stays here, almost infinitely intact. There is great, humbling beauty in that feeling.
As to our lives, there is no meaning, nothing. We are just here to spend time, like on school detention. And it’s up to us to choose how that time is spent. Drinking or exercising. Creating or consuming. Learning or wasting time. Remember that song by Linkin Park: “…And in the end, it doesn’t really matter…”? Our lives don’t have meaning. But our actions do.
Meaning is the invention of humans.
And in the end there will be death. And we all know how it’s like. Remember 150 years ago? Of course you don’t. But try to imagine how it was 150 years ago, long before you were born. You were not here. The world was here.
That’s how it will feel like when you’re gone. Emptiness.
I recently read a great book by a self-made Hollywood producer Jerry Weintraub. In one of the last chapters he talks about his personal life and some of its tragedies: his parents died, and he himself, had pancreatic cancer (from which he was cured and lived for many more years).
He talked about how these events made him realize just how fragile our lives are.
“We are all walking on a wire. And the key is to act like you are going to live forever.”
I like this quote very much. It’s the best possible strategy: as long as you live, act like you’ve got nothing to lose, because you actually don’t. Play the long-term. Let go of fear.
And realize just how meaningless, in a good way, all of this really is.