Our universe is approximately 14 billion years old,
and our little, blue planet has only been here for around 4 billion years.
It’s seen better days, but still - it’s very new.
Modern humans originated around 200,000 years ago.
Walking, talking humans like us have only been here for about 50,000 years.
Us, our family, our ancestors, everything we’ve ever known, found or been aware of has only existed for the tiniest percentage of total history.
We’re still one of the youngest things around.
But this is where it gets interesting…
Experts believe that in 3-5 billion years our galaxy, the Milky Way, could collide with another galaxy - Andromeda. Possibly ending our planet, the moon, us and everything we know. That’s a little bit scary. But let’s pretend for a moment that instead of this possibly happening, this is definitely going to happen. As depressing as it all is, we don’t actually have anything to worry about. Because long before any of that, only 2 billion years from now, our Sun will have become so hot that Earth’s water will evaporate, our soil will be burned and the scorching temperatures will mean that no life (that we know of) will be capable of survival.
So, to sum up:
Humans are only 200,000 years young, and we have just 2 billion years to go before we can’t survive on Earth anymore. She’s passed the half-way mark.
You - and not the generic ‘you’, but the person looking at the screen reading this, will not live forever. Not even the race you belong to will last. The timer has started, and all of our days are numbered. Sometime soon there will be a day just like today, where you won’t be here anymore. And your time, from the moment you were born to the second that you passed will exist in pieces of memories, in the minds of other people that will one day be gone too.
So now that you know this, think about that small thing that you’ve been worrying about these past few days. Maybe even these past few weeks, or months. In the big history book of the Universe, we only exist for a few fractions of a second. We don’t get a chapter or a page. Our time here is so brief we’d be lucky to get a mention. Doesn’t it seem useless spending our time worrying, procrastinating and putting things on hold for the silliest excuses?
So I’ve come up with a list of a few other daily things we could do to literally make our lives a little bit more fulfilled, memorable and worthwhile. Even if other future worlds and civilizations never hear a thing about it…
- Eat what you want on the menu, even the dessert - nobody remembers a good salad.
- Ask questions. Everyday. About everything.
- Give answers, and advice. You’re more important than you think.
- A day behind a desk is a day wasted. Find somewhere else to work.
- Say you’re sorry. It’s a win-win every time.
- Even your worst creation has a number one fan.
- Don’t correct people’s grammar. You’re highlighting your own flaws more than theirs.
- Get up at 5am sometimes. The planet will feel like it’s yours for an hour or two.
- Buy one thing from Toys R Us every month. It will pay for your grandkids’ education.
- Your face will change no matter what you throw at it. Enjoy the metamorphosis.
- Go for a long drive alone. Decide for yourself every single turn you want to make.
- Don’t apologize for the music you like, the things you treasure or the people you love.
- Close your eyes and try and listen for the furthest sound you can possibly hear.
- Listen to Carl Sagan.
- If you make art, you’re an artist. You don’t need to sell a thing.
- If you’ve got something to say, say it. Always.
- Don’t turn away from the camera. You’ll anger the photographer and your future self.
- Tell them how you feel, right now.
- Look up. Even if your inside, you’ll notice something you didn’t before.
- Talk to the old people. They know everything about wisdom, knowledge and regret.
- Have an adventure. Even if it’s to the local shop.
- Make your own mind up about somebody before you decide how to treat them.
- Really appreciating something is easier said than done. So at least, don’t misuse it.
- Your existence is amazing, your world is remarkable. You have no right to be bored.
- Smile. You never know who’s looking.
- Be a decision maker. If you can’t make a choice, flip a coin.
- Take care of your hands and feet and they’ll take you wherever you want.
- Just because you don’t understand it, it doesn’t make you or it stupid.
- Do what you want to do. Even if nobody else has done it before. Be the first.
- If you like somebody’s work let them know it. Maybe they’ve never been told.
- Never save the best for last. You might never get it.
- Find the person you love and dedicate your life to making them smile.
- Plant a tree. Why not? Just plant a bloody tree.
- Anything that you’re supposedly ‘too old’ to do should be done immediately. Twice.
- The only winning comeback is a laugh, a head shake and a grin. In that order.
- Heroes take the stairs.
- Laugh if it’s funny. Don’t if it’s not.
- Never forget the importance of talking face to face. No matter how easy the internet makes it.
- Throw snowballs and roll around in the sun. Neither of them last forever.
- Write letters to your grandchildren, for when they’re your age.
- Forgiving someone doesn’t mean having to forget what they did. But you’ll feel better.
- Eat well, exercise and inevitably lose the weight. But if you can’t, don’t.
- Write letters to your friends. They’ll love it.
- Sometimes - junk food, chocolate, ice cream and snacks are actually good for you.
- Anything you’ve ever wanted to learn you can learn on the internet. No excuses.
- You’re lucky enough to be part of a generation that can capture pictures and videos wherever you are, whenever you want. Do your older self a favour and save it all.
But above all else - create things, laugh about stupid stuff and be there for everyone. Even if you feel like they’re never there for you. Six billion years is all our civilization is going to get. And the time you get for yourself is even shorter. Don’t let pride or fear ruin a second of it. Fill your life with people, places and memories. And if you do it right, death won’t seem so scary. Because it’ll be the one thing left that you haven’t done yet.