What matters in the long end

By Christine Kim

We live on a floating rock. This concept, although not quite applicable to all problems, is a refreshing reminder to step back and realize what actually matters in the grand scheme of things. Life is so much more than a couple of homework assignments, as we are all merely little humans on a floating rock. The test I just failed, the fight I just had with a friend that blew out of proportion, the embarrassing moment I slipped in public, they are all insignificant details of life that won’t matter in the long end. 

The first time I heard this phrase was when I was a freshman, still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with excitement for a successful high school experience. I was so consumed with the idea of being perfect that I scoffed at the phrase, thinking, only slackers believe that. And I don’t think I was alone in that mindset, as from my experience education in the Bay Area is notoriously competitive. However, eventually the stress and pressure of showing satisfactory results day after day got to me both mentally and physically. I was burnt out, and it took me a while to realize losing hair and permanent dark circles weren’t healthy.

Image converted using ifftoany (Image courtesy of Science)

Cut to me two years later and “we live on a floating rock” is my mantra. I live and breathe this idea. I am just one tiny dot in an expanding universe and this thinking puts things into perspective for me. Why should I stress myself out over things I am confident will have no lasting impact on my future? 

I remember my freshman year, I had to do a biology presentation in front of the class. I am very self-conscious, and just the thought of talking in front of everyone had my stomach doing backflips and cartwheels, and not in a good way. I was nervous, sweating and nauseous, battling my urge to throw up my lunch. But somehow I went up and presented, and I can confidently say I don’t remember a single detail about anyone else’s project. If I asked around, I’m fairly certain no one remembers mine either. Reflecting on that, there are bigger things to think about than one presentation that had no impact on my life today. 

At the same time, putting things into perspective does not equate to a lack of motivation. I am constantly excited for my future and will try my best at whatever I need to do to eventually support my hopefully lavish lifestyle.