On a warm, clear night in May, Olga and I laid back in lawn chairs at the edge of the calm Pacific Ocean. We were on our delayed honeymoon on the island of Maui.
It was typical of us during our stay to eat an early dinner so we could watch the sun set over the island of Lanai, which sat due west, as a pillow for the sun to lay its head.
This night, we came out after the sun had long been asleep. We sat still in the darkness, covered with a light blanket, to watch, “The best meteor shower this year,” Camelopardalids, named after the constellation of the same name to the north that would host this spectacular display.
The shower blew our minds with a single, fantastic shooting star. No more, no less. Universe Today called the storm, “Skimpy, but sweet.”
We did not see the shooting stars we hoped for, but the event left us to lay peering at the night sky in wonder. As a child, I was fascinated by the sky. My dad shared the fascination and we would often sit in the backyard, staring up, talking about what we thought was out there.
Staring up at the sky, with the ocean lapping up on the rocks below, I was a kid again.
I spend most of my time trying to solve problems, to learn, to understand. But what lays beyond those stars is impossible to comprehend.
In that vastness that holds potentially infinite stars, somehow, in a tiny galaxy of 100 billion stars, sits a modest little star, swinging a ball of life around it 93 million miles away at 108,000 km/hour.
It’s easy to forget, in the hustle and bustle of the busy day, how incredible this opportunity called life is. It’s easy to get caught up in all the little things that are not fitting into our plan. It’s easy to focus on the things that are not going our way. But every minute of every day we should be should be screaming in amazement that we are here.
I want to leave you with 5 reasons I’m thrilled that I’m alive:
- My basic needs are easily met. With little effort, I can satisfy my basic needs: food, shelter, clothing, and water. I work a little harder to afford healthy, natural food. I’ve managed to work up to a clean, comfortable apartment. I don’t care much about clothes, but I’ve got what I need. I live in a place that still doesn’t fluoridate water, so that’s a plus. I am well above my basic needs without much trouble, but I’ve never had to worry about these things my entire life.
- There are people I love and admire. From Olga, to my family, to my friends and colleagues, to people I spend hours a day with, through books, podcasts, and video posts, but have never met. There are so many people in this world to love and admire, my only regret is spending too much time with people who don’t fall into either category.
- It’s easier than ever to transcend the commons. I can reach someone on the other side of the globe, or check a price and make a purchase in seconds, research a topic on the spot, or start a business doing anything I can imagine. Thanks to technology, it seems like anything is possible. So many are still happy just being common, but if you are not, it’s easier than ever to escape.
- Communities are evolving without borders. I love the new community. It isn’t just your race, or class, or neighborhood, or village, or city, or state, or country. Today, we can collaborate and communicate with anyone we want—anywhere. It’s the beginning of the end of the imaginary borders of the past. And good riddance to them.
- I’m free. I can make whatever choices I want. Yes, there are consequences forced on me I don’t think are moral through a political arm, and there are plenty of other wrongs in this crazy world too, but I’m still free to act. I can do whatever I want, and I plan to take full advantage of that. I plan to seek the full extent of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Don’t forget the occasional pause to remember how incredible all of this is. Wherever you are at in life, it can get better, and it can get worse. But thank the stars it’s here to get.
What is one reason you’re thrilled to be alive?