It’s so easy to get sidetracked by all the difficult things. By the traffic and the broken down cars and the 6am mornings and the exhaustion and the weight of all the loss. It’s so easy to focus on the frustrations and the irritations, the queues and the admin and all the things that go wrong. The rules, the bureaucracy, the grey skies and the cost of living. It’s so easy to be negative. To forget why we are here, what really matters, how we are all intrinsically connected, we are all pieces of stardust and soil. How easily we get caught up in the trivialities of every day until we are walking in a fog of grey clouds and life seems too heavy and none of it seems particularly worth it.
I was listening to a podcast the other day (I love listening to profound philosophical podcasts while traveling somewhere, to be learning whilst moving feels like the ultimate definition of the phrase, “…two birds, one stone”) and the speaker and his guest were discussing the philosophical concept called anti-natalism, a theory that proposes humanity should refrain from reproduction because it is immoral. How life is not actually worth living and ultimately we’d be better off never having been born. I thought a lot about this. Inherently I agree with some aspects of this view. I agree that we probably shouldn’t be reproducing at the rate that we are. That our world could do with a lot fewer people and that ultimately having children is essentially a crime against the environment. But the philosophers view around life not being worth living, about the suffering and unavoidable pain of this life just not outweighing the pleasures and therefore concluding that life is simply not worth it, this is where I firmly disagree.
I see and know first hand that life is suffering. Inevitable loss and illness and death and sadness and letting go. There is so much we humans have to endure and survive. I have been through a lot and yet there are things that I cannot even imagine enduring. So then… what is the point of it all?
I don’t know exactly. But I can say, to me at least, that it is worth it. The suffering is worth it because of the everyday things. I don’t even mean the good things. I just mean the ordinary things. The little beauties. The small wonders and pleasures and everyday mundanities. That is the point of this existence. The tiny things. Not the university graduations, or weddings, or birthday parties or moving overseas or falling in love. Yes, the big moments are magic. But they don’t make life worth it. To me it’s the way I feel at the end of an intense exercise class. That combination of sweat and exhaustion and accomplishment. It’s a good cup of coffee. It’s a bite of a meal you’ve been anticipating for hours. It’s the look in a lovers eye. It’s a hug from a stranger. It’s swimming in a thunderstorm. Its flipping the pillow to the cold side. It’s a cold shower on a hot day. It’s a cup of lemon, honey and ginger tea when you have a sore throat. It’s your favourite wooly jersey. It’s an empty Sunday, a good novel and solitude. It’s airports. It’s plunging into the ocean. It’s the smell of the earth after rain. It’s a song that transports you to a former time. It’s a good sneeze. It’s Friday evening. It’s bare feet in sand. Its getting dirty. It’s playing like a child.
These things, these minute, ordinary pleasures are what makes all the struggles worth it. And these are things we have access to every day. These are things we can always experience, we just don’t notice their beauty while we’re in them. We don’t realize how these moments, these tiny little things, make up our lives.