My last post about insignificance, relating to our size compared to the rest of the universe, got me thinking about big numbers. It also got me thinking about the dichotomy of how insignificant we are as individuals in the grand scheme of things on the one hand, yet how incredibly significant we can be depending on what we chose to do with our lives. Actually, scratch that. We are significant simply because we *are.* And that is a very hard thing to grasp, considering the incredible vastness of what is “out there.” It’s also very hard to grasp in the world in which we live *down here*, in a world that places such a strong emphasis on one’s value coming from “doing” and “having” as opposed to simply “being.” What’s one of the most frequent questions we’re asked by people we meet? “What do you *do* for a living?” Sure, it’s a conversation starter, but isn’t it awkward when the person responds, “I stay at home,” or, “I’m unemployed,” or even worse, “I’m a garbage man.” And then, there are the incessant conversations and social posturings about possessions and status: Where one lives, what sort of car one drives, where the kids go to school, and so on, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
In my day to day encounters, even though I am no longer a therapist, I still come across many, many people who have strong feelings of “insignificance.” Feelings of profound depression that are often related to feeling like they do not matter. That they are invisible. That they have nothing to offer the world around them. What often comes comes with such feelings are thoughts of being unlovable, unworthy, and other symptoms of depression. These are crucial, existential questions that need answers. Unfortunately, too many do not try to answer them, instead seeking to just be numb or, to check out completely. Sadly, I know far too many who did check out. Sadly, I even tried to check out once.
What does any of this have to do with big numbers? Well, I’m glad you asked. Let’s start with this, first. I am not going to sit here and tell you that you were “created with a purpose,” or none of that pie-in-the-sky stuff. Frankly, I’m not much into that stuff. But what I *will* tell you is this:
The average male produces over 500 BILLION sperm cells in his lifetime. (“Oh dear lord, he’s talking about sperm.” Yeah, sperm. I bet you weren’t expecting THAT turn in the road, were ya. Sorry folks, but bear with me. I really am going somewhere with this.) Every month, that average male sheds about one billion of those little dudes. During sex, as few as 40 million or as many as 1.2 billion sperm cells can be released. (“OMG I am starting to blush.” Get over it, we’re not in church.) Now, on the female side, she starts out with about 2 million egg follicles. Only about 450 eggs will ever be released. And you know what’s going to happen next (cue the Barry White)…
So… there was that ONE egg out of the 450 that yo’ momma released in her lifetime (1:450) and that ONE spermatozoa out of the astronomical amount (let’s say about 500 million, or 1:500,000,000) from yo’ daddy that were fired off during that ONE time they had the sex that resulted in you. You. YOU resulted from that. Now I’m not talking about God or miracles or none of that shit. But just think about these odds for a second. It COULD have been another egg. It COULD have been any other sperm cell. It could have been any other night that your parents decided to stay up late, watching Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno or David Letterman (depending on the age of your parents) and get frisky. It could have been a whole host of other variables that changed the equation and caused a different outcome.
But it wasn’t. It happened the way it did. And here you are. 🙂
I’d say that you are FAR from insignificant. I’d say you’re pretty damn lucky. Or blessed. Or whatever adjective you want to use. Sure, it may be “just chance” that all of those variables coalesced the way they did so that “you” came into being. So what. Who cares. Doesn’t matter. YOU are still HERE because of that “chance,” and you know what, I’m overjoyed about that. You may have had to endure a good bit of suffering as a result of that “chance.” I have too. A lot. But I bet you’ve had some happiness too. And there’s more to be had too. And I’m still glad you’re here.
You’re here. And the world is a much better place because of it. I hope you decide to stay a while. ❤