Who am I? Well, in the scheme of things, I’m a nobody. Probably not going to go down in history for anything worthwhile.
And I’m perfectly fine with that.
99% (that’s a low estimate) of all people in the world are nobodies; people who, a century after their death, will be lost in the myriad of databases. People whose entire life’s work will be meaningless and not have contributed anything to the society of the future. Nobodies who strive daily to accumulate things that won’t even last for fifty years.
Despite that depressing thought, being a “nobody” is beautiful. Being able to attribute meaning to a seemingly meaningless existence is simply incredible. For the billions and billions of nobodies who exist, and have existed, in this world, what makes life worth living? Why do we wake up every day, knowing that it won’t matter in a hundred years? Why do we bother going through the monotony of daily life considering that our days are not even a blip on the radar of the wheel of time?
I can tell you only from the perspective of this one “nobody” among billions.
First, I believe nothing is truly meaningless. We’ve given meaning to seemingly random lines and squiggles on paper, that we now call text. Depending on the font, the lines and squiggles may look completely different but they still convey the same meaning.
Going further, though the meaning of those lines and squiggles may be obvious, the way those lines and squiggles are organized and shaped could express even deeper meaning. We have the iconic “f” symbol–a tiny box taking less than a square-inch of space on paper says instantly– “we’re on Facebook!”
And that’s exactly how I view my life. Everything in life has meaning, if I take the time to give it meaning.
Just two weeks ago, I decided to allow a spider to take residence in a corner of my room. It was just a spider, among countless other spiders–spiders that I usually kill. But I decided to try something new, and did not kill the spider.
Every couple days he would disappear, but he would come back, until yesterday I saw his curled up body under his web.
The spider was inherently meaningless. His short life means nothing in the scheme of things. It didn’t matter that I had decided not to kill him that one day–two weeks later, he would already be dead, and nothing would have changed.
Yet that spider meant a lot to me. Its prolonged existence meant that I was letting go of an irrational fear that millions of people around the world have. It made me wonder why we humans feel it is perfectly fine to destroy spiders’ nests–nests that are beautifully constructed and take its artists sometimes its entire life to build?
It made me question what we would do if a higher being viewed human existence as insignificant as humans view arachnid existence. How we would react if the higher being destroyed our technology the same way we destroy spider nests.
The world will continue to turn, with or without humans; with or without spiders. And yet, as long as spiders exist, they will continue to build their nests; as long as humans exist, we will continue to push the envelope of what is possible.
And that’s where I fit in. I may not be inventing a brand new car, or rocket ship, or mobile device. I’m simply inventing new things in my life. Learning languages, learning programming, satiating my curiosity for the world around me, breaking the boundaries of what I thought was possible for myself, and most importantly, using those random lines and squiggles to communicate my findings with the world. The continuous challenge to be challenged drives me to wake up and carpe diem every morning.
Every day, “I love you”s are exchanged between couples, parents and children, siblings, etc. Three seemingly random utterances of the breath that can have such a profound effect on someone’s life. Three words that can mean the difference between life and death for a depressed individual, or the difference between feeling special and feeling neglected for a child. Even though these words have no meaning in most other languages, they are among the most powerful words in the English language. The fact that this small utterance could have such a profound meaning that it could make or break a relationship is possibly the most beautiful thing about human beings.
I’m perfectly fine with my meaningless existence. But the meaning I have given my life is all the meaning that is necessary for me. I hope you join me in my journey to discover and add more meaning to life. And so I write…