(*Full image credit to the wonderful Uditha Wickramanayaka*)
Life. It's pretty full on, right? We busy ourselves from one day to the next, our habitual existence decorated with love and laughter and the romantic possibility of that achievement: that adventure, that job, that relationship milestone, that flat with the #earthporn panoramic seaside views, our triumphant victory over whatever it is that scares the shit out of us. And we dismantle as easily as we decorate: our frustrating, irreparable flaws, the wildly frustrating, irreparable flaws of others, the insecurities we torture ourselves with, the 'OH-EM-GEEEE-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life' monster that crawls from beneath our bed at 2am, the occasional raging, internal fury that bubbles within us when we spill onion soup on the gorgeous, 'bargain hunt!' pin-striped blouse we found in Primark last weekend.
Yup, whether we're wrapped up in a moment of overexcited, incurable optimism, or in a little ray of 'I-potentially-hate-all-humans' glumshine, we're well and truly wrapped up in it. We spend a lot of time fully engrossed in our own thoughts and selves and the infinitesimal spectrum of our own lives.
We lose perspective like we lose hair grips. All too often, no universe feels bigger than the one inside of our heads.
So thank goodness for the sea. The rich, crashing waves that expand for miles either side of us, the distant horizon, the wind that fills our ears as it teases our hair, throwing untamed strands into our dry mouths. Thank goodness for vast, rolling hills. Thank goodness for the sky: the mad scattering of stars and darkness of a nighttime, our colossal sun, the fucking spectacularity of it all. THANK GOODNESS that we're so dwarfed by nature: that we're surrounded by such big, beautiful things that can remind us we're just specks of dust on a tiny planet in a lost corner of a universe that sits within 200 billion galaxies! Perhaps the most fervent charm of our existence is this easily accessible opportunity to be insignificant. It's medicinal. Sanity preserving. Want to calm an onion soup storm? Desperate to silence a raucous brain or escape a hormonal house party? Need to stop hankering for a moment? Get in your car. Get in someone else's car. Walk for five miles, if you have to. Or just look up. Feel tiny! Remember how tiny you are.
As human beings, we are perpetually brilliant and insanely imaginative and unquestionably curious and endlessly fascinating. We house terrifyingly busy minds. Some of us will define history because of it. Most of us will not. And that's okay, because all of us will be adored by someone else: every last one of us will decorate somebody else's voyage into oblivion with love and laughter and the romantic possibility of shared adventure. So sure, for that, we matter. But there too will come a time when everything we ever thought and said and did and discovered will be forgotten. Most of it already is. And one day, we will cease to exist and those crashing waves will still spit at the shore, and the colossal sun will still rise, and bewitching stars will still tease the night when those who come after us stir at 2am with the same rowdy reflections. The teeny stain of our onion soup, the teeny stain of our lives, will be gone forever. The world will continue to spin on its axis as it always did.
We matter, and yet we really don't matter at all.... All at once. Our lives are everything and nothing, and I don't think there's any reassurance greater than that. I'm in love with this perfect paradox.