16 January 2019

PERSPECTIVE


^^ Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot | Image from Imgur ^^

Next month I turn 38.

Age has never been an issue for me or something I think too much on because, let’s face facts here, we can’t stop it happening. as much as some people really do try... please stop trying, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AS YOU ARE and it’s too weird to see everyone’s faces looking exactly the same!

Hand on heart I would simply not choose to go back to any previous ages whatsoever; I am happier in my late thirties in so many ways then I have ever been, even when times can be testing and, ultimately the tests are more demanding on our psyche the older we get. The difference now, for me at least, is that I understand my own needs and wants so much more that some of the bigger things just don’t seem as testing. 

Having experiences in your younger years that seemed like the end of the world are the reason that we don’t ‘sweat the small stuff’ as adults. I guess as we grow in age, wisdom (debatable in my case sometimes) and experiences, there is a deep routed knowing that we can get through things, that we will get through things, even though we know there will be pain and suffering, on the most part we can be sure that we will come out stronger individuals. 

I think the mistake so many people make is that they don't allow for how much work gaining this perspective of life takes, it is a conscious choice and that it’s not a given that things will just be okay as you get older, there is no magic wand, it takes effort, but it's really worth it. I know that I have to work so hard every day to stay happy; listen to motivational/inspiration podcasts, read things that will inspire me and remind myself that, in the larger concept of our existence, I am insignificant and that tomorrow will be a different day. This Carl Sagan quote, from the picture above, gets me into that head space fast, it really is a wonderful piece of writing:


Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

-- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994


Obviously I am not putting all experiences under one umbrella here because that would be truly insensitive and not at all helpful; there are big things, such as grieving the passing of someone you love or a traumatic, life changing experience and many similar situations that are totally different and the results can be devastating; I’m by no means trying to make sense out of those things, I am certainly not qualified for that. What I am talking about the every day things that are far more common place, like friendship breakdowns, feeling lost and unsure about life choices or the future or relationship breakdowns. Fundamentally as much as these things are emotionally draining  and very difficult to handle in the moment they can teach us so many things about who we are and, even though we can’t see it at the time, and probably feel like life will never be the same again, time is the greatest healer and so, down the line, we will look back and be able to reflect on it and (hopefully) smile and feel happy that we are in the place we are in at that moment instead. 


^^ Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash ^^

Without all the paths we have already been down in our lives up to now we would not have had people enter our lives to teach us lessons, bring love and friendship, change our experiences and introduce to us our next chapters. Sometimes life pulls you into some strange directions and we cannot see why we are there, but just try and trust the situation and eventually something useful will be revealed and you will have the ‘ah-ha’ moment. Follow your intuition along the way and you are pretty much set.

So, as I turn 38, my focus is on leaning into the most aligned version of me. The me that is socially awkward and says ridiculous things sometimes. The me that loves laughing and being silly, singing at the top of my lungs and having music so loud that I am all consumed by it. The me that dances about the house like a mad woman because I love how free I feel. The me that finds happiness in watching birds in the garden, seeing the first signs of spring appearing. The me that cries at small things I see outside on a walk or when I am watching the stars because I can’t believe how amazing nature is. The me that loves lifting all the heavy things at the gym until my hands rip apart. The me that feels everyone else’s hurt by being in their presence and wanting to help them all at once. The me that daydreams for hours about old fashioned romance and laying under the stars with a glass of whisky for company and the me that has all the ambitions and goals in the world and will strive for all of them at once and wear myself out fast.

All these things are who I am and as I approach another year circling the sun, I am thankful that I am who I am, as much as I struggle in my own skin every single day. I have done a lot and have a great deal more to do and, come hell or high water, I will get there!
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