We are an enigma, this body of carbon and oxygen and hydrogen.
We are an enigma, in our minds and our hearts and our souls.
We choose, and that is not always wise.
But then…we are an enigma.
Hold your breath for thirty seconds.
For some, that time passes with relative quickness as they watch the second hand on a clock ease its way across the dial. After thirty seconds, those people exhale calmly, and then slowly inhale another breath as if the entire process was natural.
For others, thirty seconds may seem like an eternity. They wait with nervous anticipation, watching the clock and willing the second hand to move faster. The time that passes is filled with anxiety. They exhale loudly and are relieved with the subsequent inhalation of life giving breath.
The time is the same. It is only our perception of the time, and our preparation, that impacts how we react to it. The exercise lasts but half a minute. Mere seconds, of which there are 86,400 in a single rotation of our planet.
Here are some interesting numbers…
1 Year = 31,536,000 seconds in a single revolution of our planet around the sun.
Homo-Sapiens emerged 200,000 Years ago. That’s 6,307,200,000,000 seconds.
Bipedalism emerged 5 Million Years ago. That’s 157,680,000,000,000 seconds.
Earth was formed roughly 4.5 Billion Years ago. That’s 141,912,000,000,000,000 seconds.
In the grand scheme of things, humans haven’t been around that long. Early examples of bipedalism (or walking on two feet) emerged approximately 5 million years ago. It signified the precursor for what was to be a new species. 5 million years ago represents only 1.111111111% of our planet’s total existence. Homo-Sapiens (that’s you and me, folks) represents only 0.00444445% of our planet’s total existence. So, why all the math?
We can look at the big picture and view ourselves as insignificant pieces of a puzzle that nobody really has a clear view of. It’s not like there is a cosmic box out there, leaning up against an empty mug on the dining room table, illustrating what all the corners look like. Whatever your beliefs, there are still too many unknowns to fathom.
But what is clear is that we have a choice. We have choices. We have decisions in our lives to be made each day. And regardless of the scale those decisions may have, the truth is we must make them. The effort that is given is entirely up to the individual. You and me.
As was the rest of the world, I was in awe on Sunday as Felix Baumgartner rose to new heights of accomplishment (and altitude!) by free-falling from the edge of space, an astonishing 128,097 feet above the surface of Earth. The images that have captured the internet savvy globe, of a single man perched on top of the world, are both moving and inspiring.
Next year, we may undoubtedly still be discussing this historic achievement. In another ten years or one hundred, we may look back and recall with vivid clarity the moments of the jump that provided valuable information for the future. In a thousand years, the epic nature of his accomplishment may still be heralded. As time passes, such feats become timeless.
Felix Baumgartner made a choice to push himself, and in doing so challenged what we are capable of as humans. Sure, in the grand scheme of things his return to earth lasted only 543 seconds. But what a memorable time it was.
His drive, and passion, has inspired me to continue each day with a fresh perspective. To not view the decisions I make as insignificant across a landscape as vast as the universe. He has inspired me to prepare myself, and thus my perspective, for the time that lies ahead. I’m excited, and ready for the possibilities that await me.
What will you do with the next thirty seconds?