How amazing is life?

Not, probably, a question we ask ourselves every day. But perhaps we should. Someone posted this to facebook a while back and I read it and it really got me thinking.

When I took a metaphysics course maybe 10 years ago I learned about the probabilities of certain universal constants being as they are, and if they were slightly different then, say, matter could never form. I can’t remember the details. But it was enough to push me from complete atheism (the multiple universe theory never appealed to me; too wasteful, I feel the universe is more elegant than that) into a state where I believed that something (or –things) could possibly have created things in such a way that matter could form, and oxygen and water could form, and perhaps life as we know it could evolve. The notion that some all-powerful God would swoop down and answer the prayers of us little ants has always seemed egomaniacal in the extreme, even to me as a small child.
But at the end of the day, we don’t really know. We can’t know. That’s where faith comes in. Quantum physics is an amazing field of study. Google Schrodinger’s cat, if you’re not already familiar with the concept. I guess for me, it doesn’t really matter. You may dismiss things like universal consciousness and new age yoga stuff, and maybe it is all a bunch of hooey. But maybe it isn’t. It’s much harder to prove a negative now isn’t it? And that, my friends, is what makes life fun. If we had all the answers, or knew how things were going to turn out, then life would be pretty boring now wouldn’t it?
Of course the Type A in me thinks it would be quite cool to have lived back in the day when it was possible to know all the knowledge known to man (even if some of it was incorrect). I wonder how much of what we know today as fact is actually wrong? Or how many of the things we learned or were told as children are in fact incorrect (A calorie is a calorie! Whole grains are good for you! Coconut will make you fat! Soy is a health product!). Right?
But above and beyond how the universe works, it really is humbling to think that our chances of being born at all are so infinitesimal, and of living right now (as opposed to having our life be in the past already, or a potential future, should the earth last a few more generations) … it’s actually mind-blowing. You start talking about universal constants and you fall victim to the unknown victim cognitive bias … that concept is too big to wrap your head around. You start talking about the chances that you, yourself, were actually born (and how easily it could have been other than it is), and that’s when the magnitude of the matter actually sinks in.
So the next time you feel like your life sucks, or life is hard, consider the alternative. Not just that you could die tomorrow (because you never know), but that you might never have been born at all. We’re all so lucky to be alive, in all of our imperfections and talents and frailties. I don’t believe everyone is beautiful, inside or out. But we all have the potential to be beautiful, just as we all have the potential to be ugly. In some ways it does boil down to that devil on one shoulder, and angel on the other.
At the moment, my angel seems to be winning. I’m plowing through my to-do lists with wild abandon (ok I was a bit grouchy today at work), and I’m now almost an entire month without any sugar, dairy, grains, alcohol (eh, whatever, if it ain’t meat, fish, eggs, coconut, olive oil, a green vegetable, a seed, a herb, or something in my protein shake I probably haven’t eaten it). And, for the most part, I feel fine.
I am having a bit of a hard time getting my Heart work done because the hub is taking up all my time, just as we feared. So I’m considering taking some days or afternoons and working from home, so I can actually get stuff done without distractions.
This week also marked my not-so-awesome return to the Trail Series. Apparently while I may look like I wouldn’t be out of place at an Olympic event, my performance left a lot to be desired. The day before we had just done a ridiculously hectic thruster workout after heavy back squats (a thruster is a front squat where you then stand up and press the bar all the way overhead). I was using a heavier weight than normal and by the next day my legs felt like lead, and were sore. So I was having some of those moments like in dreams where you are trying to run and your legs aren’t moving … I was trying to run up hills and my legs were working against me rather than for me, and then my left calf started cramping, and then I hit the wall (probably the lack of high-starch carbs got to me after about the 20 minute mark).
I finished sixth, and was actually a few minutes slower than my time on the same course last year, which should tell you more than my place. If I’d even run the same time as last year I would have been second. So, I guess before my next race I won’t trash my legs the day before, and will eat a banana or two beforehand for the potassium & carbs.
But again on the subject of being lucky – as we were driving out of Silvermine one of my friends commented how lucky we were to have this as our form of exercise – out there, running in nature, in the fresh air. It is true; we are so lucky to be able to do it financially and physically. And yeah, I can enjoy myself completely and then later reflect how damn lucky I am, when probably someone my exact age with my exact IQ and potential is sitting in poverty somewhere in Khayelitsha, with no idea what Silvermine is.   
But hey, no one said life was fair, did they?
  • “Come to love that cramping feeling in your abdomens.” – Chris (or words to that effect, I was a little bit in the middle of a workout at the time!)
  • “That’s pretty sad, when they have to put you down just to make themselves look better.” – Jobst
  • “I’m already addicted.” – Peter
  • “OK I *am* sneaky like that.” – Jon
  • “Maybe you can just focus better than I can.” – Keith
  • “We do look pretty intimidating, I must say.” – Jon 


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