COSMIC INSIGNIFICANCE: Why Perspective is Everything

Photo by Rebecca Campbell on Unsplash

I recently went to get my spring COVID booster. The immunization clinic was being run out of an elementary school that shut down a few years ago.

The building was old and likely built in the 70’s; the grey metal lockers were banged-up and rusted around the edges, and the decor involved a lot of teal interspersed with wood-finish.

The clinic was well-organized; as quick and efficient as ordering a Happy Meal - McVaccine if you will. We were well past the stage of mile-long queues we'd seen when the first vaccine came out; this wasn't their first rodeo nor mine.

After my jab (I looked away, obviously), as I was reminded that I had to wait 15-minutes before leaving, I realized I had to pee.

I was directed to a washroom all the way at the other end of the hall.

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

As I walked down the long corridor and into the washroom, I instantly had a flash-back to a time when I was little enough to be the right height for those small sinks and tiny toilets; I was perhaps 7-years-old and 4-feet-tall, give or take.

I remembered that - at the time - the school looked so big and the world appeared overwhelmingly large. Those sinks and toilets didn’t seem small to me then; they were the right size for the universe I inhabited.

From my perspective at the time - when small sinks and tiny toilets were neither small nor tiny - I thought that so many things mattered.

At the time of course, I didn’t realize I was merely a spec in the vast cosmos. I took so much to heart and let so many things trouble my young mind.

Now unquestionably fully grown - I’m 43-years-old and 5’8” - those sinks seemed so small as did my worries of that time.

Perspective, as they say, is everything.

As I squatted down low (low...) to pee then wash my hands, I realized that there's likely to be a someday when I look back at 43-year-old me and grin about how small and unnecessary my current worries were.

If I could go back to that time - when I was a young 4-foot-tall sprite - with the knowledge I have now, I would worry less and enjoy the ride so much more.

I would tell my young self that there's never a need to worry because "everything will be all right in the end; if it's not all right, it is not yet the end."

Since I can't go back, I can only extrapolate that advice and apply it to the present moment - "Worry less, and just enjoy the ride babe."

The bright side of ageing is the perspective we get on how few things really are worth worrying about.

We each have a right to feel what we feel within our own individual experience; at the same time....

Don’t take it all so seriously; someday it just won’t matter because you may just find yourself squatting down low to wash your hands in a tiny, cosmically-insignificant, sink.

Photo by Carlos Martinez on Unsplash

"Cosmic insignificant therapy is an invitation to face the truth about your irrelevance in the grand scheme of things...

Which is why it’s useful to begin...with a blunt but unexpectedly liberating truth: that what you do with your life doesn’t matter all that much—and when it comes to how you’re using your finite time, the universe absolutely could not care less.

It’s natural to find such thoughts terrifying. To contemplate “the massive indifference of the universe”...can feel “as disorienting as being lost in a dense wood..." But there’s another angle from which it’s oddly consoling.

You might think of it as “cosmic insignificance therapy”: When things all seem too much, what better solace than a reminder that they are...indistinguishable from nothing at all? ...To remember how little you matter, on a cosmic timescale, can feel like putting down a heavy burden that most of us didn’t realize we were carrying in the first place."

Photo by Tolga Ulkan on Unsplash

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