For a lot of my life I have struggled with my existence.

Everyday anxieties get in the way and become overwhelming. I worry about my hair, my crooked teeth, the size of my thighs. Do I talk funny? What about the way I dress? Oh dear. Sure, I would love to go to the gym more often, but the stress of potential judging eyes in the changing room is too much. Not to mention the fact that in my mind, I look like a drunk, maimed hippo on the treadmill.

Curse genetics for my vampire-pale skin and the dark bags under my eyes. From the age of sixteen to twenty-six, I never once left the house without at least some mascara, eyebrow tint, and a base layer of foundation. Essential war paint.

Then there’s the bigger worries. Family, friends, finances, health, finding your passion, feeling adequate, leaving a legacy, being something meaningful to yourself, and to the world. Phew! These anxieties cast a dark shadowy blanket over the radiance of our world. If we focus on them too much, our insecurities can become paralysing, and leave us tired, and bitter.

When you take a step back and truly think about life though, it’s silly to worry about these things. The fact that we are even alive, experiencing this existence, is beyond amazing. We get so caught up in the micro concerns of our day-to-day lives, we fail to see the bigger picture; that we are something to be marvelled, a statistical outlier, existing in the tiniest of the tiny percentage of successful human life. We all need more of this perspective, because life becomes a lot easier when you truly understand and accept the fact that you are indeed, a goddamn miracle. So, buckle up, it’s time to be amazed by your own existence.

3 reasons why you truly are a miracle

1. Your Biological Machine

I want you to clasp one of your hands into the other – that’s roughly the size of your heart. Yep, it’s HUGE. And it just casually pumps on average of 100,000 times per day, without you even thinking about it.

Do you ever consciously think about how your thyroid gland functions? Or how the blood is coursing through your body right now? Imagine if you had to remember to breathe? If humans had to do that, I would definitely be dead. At any given time, there are about 25 trillion red blood cells coursing through your intricate highway of blood vessels. Red blood cells have a lifespan of only 120 days, but spend their entire existence tirelessly working to keep us alive, racing oxygen through the mind-boggling 160,000 kilometres of blood vessels in our bodies.

Think of all of the DNA strands required to make you, you. If I could take all of them from your body, uncoil them and lay them out, they would stretch over 10 BILLION miles long. That’s all the way to the furthest planet Pluto and back, or to the sun and back 50 times! Similarly, if you were to lay out all of your veins end to end in a straight line, you would definitely die. So don’t do that.

Your body is made up of 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (seven octillion) atoms! Without you knowing, the cells that line your stomach regenerate themselves every 5 days. You spend 10% of your waking day blinking, yet you can see up to 7.5 million colours. And your nose can smell up to 1 trillion unique smells – which you’ll know of course, if you’ve ever been to a weekend festival. With all that in mind, how can we be worried about trivial things like having longer eyelashes or buying the newest sneakers? We need instead to take some time to start appreciating this amazing machine we operate.

If you are still not convinced, I have one final thought for you. When you were an embryo, the very first opening that developed was the anus. So actually, you are just a fully grown butthole. And so is that girl over there duck-facing into her camera. And so is that dude flexing in the gym. Let’s just take a moment to appreciate that we are all magnificent buttholes together.  Now, don’t you feel better?

 

2. Perfect Timing

Despite the fact that plenty of problems still exist in our world, there has literally never been a better time in the history of mankind to be alive.

People are healthier now than ever before. We don’t have to worry about Polio or Smallpox because we have vaccines. The world has become significantly less violent, and homicide and domestic violence rates have dropped dramatically. Levels of literacy and education are at the highest ever, and people have access to constant information on demand via the internet. Global life expectancy has quadrupled, and child mortality rates have dropped. Up until very recently (20th century), a newborn baby could only expect to live to a maximum age of 30 years. Now, people live to the ripe old age of 120, and life expectancy rates continue to rise.

Today, you could actually make a living from the comfort of your bedroom, talking about My Little Ponies on YouTube if you wanted to. You can start a business, learn online for free, meet the love of your life on Tinder, and find like-minded people to play board-games with. You can travel for cheap, and even learn how to build your own home. We are getting smarter overall too, a phenomenon known as the Flynn Effect.

The fact that you are even reading this right now, means that you are in the top fifth of the richest people in the world. If you live in the Western world, then you’re probably even in the top 1% of the 7.7 billion people on Earth. Don’t believe me? Calculate if for yourself at this site, it completely changed my perception.

What if you had been born 50 million years ago and had to worry daily about becoming the prey of prehistoric snakes like the Titanoboa? These monsters grew up to 12.8 m (42 ft) long and weighed about 1,135 kg (2,500 lb). *shudders*

You could have been born in Medieval Europe and suffered through a back-breaking, brutal existence, only to be condemned to an excruciatingly painful and unavoidable death. This is because in the mid 1300’s, 60% of Europe’s population (200 million) was wiped out from the Black Death pandemic. I’ll spare you the sordid details, but it involved boils the size of apples, and certainly wasn’t a pleasant way to live, or die.

Imagine you are a man born in Europe at the end of the 19th century. You’re drafted into the Great War (WW1) in 1914 where you experience the horror of over 40 million people being relentlessly killed over a 4 year period. In 1918, at the end of the war, a new 3 year plight begins, the Spanish Flu. This epidemic kills up to 100 million people; a strain that oddly, targets healthy young adults, subjecting many of your friends who had just endured the war to a particularly nasty death.

Somehow, you survive this and get your life on track; the roaring 20’s are in full effect and life is getting good. Then BAM! October 29th 1929, The Great Depression hits, with a global economic crash. With one third of the world unemployed, for 10 years you are starving, homeless, and many around you die. You barely survive. Finally, in 1939, you are drafted into the Second World War, to suffer the terror of war all over again. Yikes!

I’ve barely scratched the surface here. Think about the tyrannical reigns of Genghis Khan, Hitler, Mao, and the near eradication of the Native American population. Do I really need to go on? Compared to any of these times in history, today is a dream. Personally, I am so happy that I am not the prey of a mega-snake, thank you very much.

 

3. Getting Lucky

The probability of you even existing at all is stupidly low.

Your mother had about a 1 in 20,000 chance of ever meeting your father. And that’s just of them ever meeting each other, not of them doing that thing you need to do to have babies, which is of course statistically smaller. Unless your Dad is a total stud of course. Then they’ve got to like each other enough to get it on, there has to be no contraception, and well, the sperm must be released in the right place if you know what I mean. Finally, the chances it just so happened to be that specific combination of sperm cell and egg that fused together and turned out to be you, is inconceivably small (yes, I did just say inCONCEIVably).

Mom’s have about 300,000 eggs left by the time they reach puberty, but will only ever release around 300 of them. Dad’s on the other hand, produce hundreds of billions of sperm cells in their lifetime, any of which could reach that precious egg. The specific combination of reproductive cells that resulted in your existence – one particular egg, and one particular spermatozoid – occurs at a likelihood of 1 in 400 quadrillion.

But remember! Your existence doesn’t just rely on the activities of your parents. It requires the perfect marriage of sperm and egg for your parent’s parents, their parents before them, and so on. They all would have had to live long enough to reach productive age, and have children; making you an incredible unbroken lineage of life that goes back 4 billion years (to cellular form). Just considering Homo Sapiens, that’s still approximately 10,000 consecutive generations of humans that lead to you. Dang.

 

Final Word

I get that life is tough, and sometimes it’s easy to wish you were someone else. However, it’s astronomically more likely that you should be no-one. The timing had to be just perfect for you to exist. Your Mom might have decided to grab another Gin & Tonic and you never would have been. What if your Dad had stayed later at work that day? The chances you are here are too small to even comprehend! Yet, here you are.

Now that you know you are a miracle, how can’t you live your life? 400 quadrillion to one – the crazy odds of becoming a human being (and that’s a conservative estimate). You got the golden ticket, my friend. The opportunity to experience this screwball life in all it’s entirety. Not only that, but you happen to be alive right now, in the greatest era there is to be alive in the history of mankind. Make everything of this opportunity. What are you waiting for?

 

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