Everyone who has ever been into space and seen the world from that high up says the same thing, how small we are, how fragile the world looks. Precarious is always the word that comes to my mind when I read or hear comments like these.
We inhabit a small space, really the Earth is small, and we're protected by this thin layer of atmosphere, when you look at pictures from space it's like a veil of gauzy pale blue. Dandelion fluff. Fragile, precious. And we human beings who like to think we rule the universe with our money, politics and our important lives are really blips on the map. Momentary fragments that vanish in a cosmic blink.
Someone once told me, when I got all bent out of shape over something trivial though it felt huge at the time to think; Will anyone care about this in a hundred years? If the answer is no, then let it go.
Sound advice that's incredibly hard to follow some days.
We live our lives. Good days and bad and we forget that there is just so much more than us. So. Much. More.
When I was very young I remember thinking I had to go outside to watch things happen because if I saw it from behind a window it wasn't real. The glass changed my reality and at 8 years old that was quite some perception. Open windows and open space. I was a strange little Scottish girl with weird ideas on how the world worked. I have not really changed all that much.
When I was ten and we moved to northern Newfoundland I remember one night staring up at the brilliantly clear sky in awe at planets and stars wishing that whatever it was that made me see all of this magic never left me. I never wanted to change. Of course I did, but that ability to see magic in everything stayed and I am very grateful. I never wanted to be one of those frowney faced grownups I saw all the time, I never wanted to be like the two women I once shared a class with who were so old and so stuck in their ways even though they were not really much older that I was at the time that not only were they unhappy but they managed to infect everyone else with their unhappy as well. I, who am descended from gypsies, never ever wanted to be like that. I wore crazy clothes, wrote mad poetry, stuck my tongue out in every photo and drank beer with my mad, fab prof never ever wanted to be like that. It didn't win my any popularity contests but I didn't much care.
When my dad died it was earth shattering in so many ways there are not enough words to describe them all. People die every day but when you stand and watch someone's last breath leave their body there's no coming back from that. Gone. forever. And the lesson I took away from this was that life is fragile. In the blink of an eye everything changes. There is no going back. Ever.
Lesson learned. Every single day things change. People I love will die, will be hurt, will know pain. It sounds very drama llama I know but this is the state of me. I am aware everything changes all the time and even in the happiest of moments there will be sorrow. You cannot have one without the other. Change, as much as I hate it, flail against it, dig my heels, fight, curse and swear will happen anyway. It's given me a low tolerance threshold for bullshit, rudeness, jealousy and all the other garbage that feeds our demented egos into doing really ugly things. I don't put up with crap, I speak my mind though mostly I try to be polite about it( not always) and I don't really care too much about what other people think, especially about me. No really I don't. Like me, hate me or ignore me I do not care. I am a tiny blip on a tiny planet hanging precariously in space. In a hundred years no one will even know who I was. Only right here right now matters.
After my father's death before his memorial service when I was away from home, back at school and feeling very very alone I remember lying in bed crushed by the depth of loss. I learned, in the dark, to breathe and let the sorrow wash through me, to allow it to be and accept it for what it is. This is a moment, accept it and move on because you can only go forward. I still experience these odd points in time where an unbelievable, overwhelming sadness takes my breath away but I close my eyes and let it journey through me until I can breathe again and walk on. One step at a time. Suck it up buttercup. Push through the pain and go forward.
Now 4 years shy of 50 I know my journey on this planet is pretty much half over if you calculate that most people live to around 90 ( give or take). I'm on the down side of the hill and I'm okay with this. I don't regret a thing. Not one. Every single step I have taken, every single hard lesson learned, kindness given and received, loves lost and found have led me to this moment, right here right now and it is a good place. It won't stay that way, nothing ever does, but in this moment, in the sunlight and the morning quiet I know that every second, good or bad, is precious and that I am lucky. Incredibly lucky. And I am grateful for all of it.
They tell you to cherish each day, to live each moment as though it would be your last. I don't take this to mean be manic and go around doing amazing things etc... I take this to mean be aware. Life is short. Words have lasting power. Stop for a moment and breathe, watch birds fly, smile at a stranger, be kind, mind your manners and remember to say thank you. In the end I think we all want the same things, to be loved, to be noticed, to matter.
You only get one shot. Make it count, you know.