No One Will Know Your Name
Physicists estimate the age of the universe at 13.8 billion years. Anthropologists estimate Homo sapiens (humans) diverged as a species 500,000 years ago. These were my thoughts as I walked home from dinner tonight--humbling and beautiful at the same time. Life as we know it, is but a tiny blip on the timeline of the universe--just a spec. So, if you're upset with a co-worker, spouse, friend, etc. ask yourself if you think it'll matter in 10 years? How about 100? What about 1,000?
In the Academy Award-winning film Gladiator, one character says to Maximus (Russell Crowe) "We are but shadows and dust." It's esoteric and philosophical, but I think it captures the same experience I felt earlier tonight. Try to project many years into the future, hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of years. Now think of the most famous person you can think of (maybe Michael Jackson or a great scholar like Einstein). Think they'll still be significant? Do you even think there will be an Earth?
If you imagine far enough, you'll come to the realization that with time, everything will slowly go back to "nothingness". There will be no McDonald's, Coca-Cola, presidents, countries, symphonies, operas, paintings, books--just particles.
Why is this beautiful? Humans are naturally short-sighted. We think about what's in front of us, what the week looks like, where we're going over the weekend, maybe we even set resolutions for the new year. Thinking so far beyond our own existence is refreshing--it takes the pressure off. I wont be there. My children wont be there. No one will even remember my name, we might not have names. We might be "dust". And if you can grasp that everything and everyone you know, every building, beach, mountain, ocean, first kiss, will all be a non-existent blip--well, it makes me appreciate it all even more.