This weekend, as we entered the Catacombs in Paris and saw literally tons of dead bodies, it got me thinking. 20 meters underneath the streets of Paris lie over six million dead bodies, six million souls with their femurs and skulls stacked up all nice for over 200 miles. All of these people lived lives as dynamic and exciting as you or I, had pain, happiness, fears and dreams. They thought about going to faraway lands, and worried about their kids’ future. They may been rich or poor, fallen in love or been heartbroken over and over. And now what? Nearly all of them, their stories are forgotten. Their lungs, heart, brain, every breath they ever took, every heartache they ever felt, and every idea they ever thought decomposed to nothing, leaving just bone. Their bones are now scattered, lying next to the remains of people they likely never knew for the rest of eternity.
I was watching a Youtube video a while back and Michael Stevens of Vsauce brought up an interesting point. He asked the audience if we could name 10 people from the 1500s. Just 10. Over those 100 years. Most people can’t; I certainly can’t, at least with any certainty. Are we naïve enough to think that we will be remembered in 500 years? We probably won’t in a 100 and we definitely won’t when we think on the timescale of the universe. It’s scary and sad to think about how insignificant we are. But I take great solace in the fact that yes, we are extremely insignificant, but we are not nothing.
No matter how small, no matter how brief, we’ve made an impact on the world and we will continue to do so. If nothing less, we are a set of initial conditions for the rest of our community, our nation, our world, our universe to build on. This trip, its effect on me, and how I change from it, will forever change the fate of the universe, even if only in my tiny little corner of our tiny little world. You may be thinking ‘ok Reid, you’re turning this trip into a bigger deal than it really is.’ And you know what, you’re probably right, but so what, it’s fun to think about.
And at the very least, this trip has been and will continue to be an incredible journey that I got to experience. And when it’s over, I will have those memories, I will have everything I’ve learned, and I will have those moments with the new friends I’ve made. I will have the memories of rocksliding down a mountain in Morocco, running through a tunnel to make it to the Barca Atleti game, and driving a Lamborghini on the streets of downtown Paris. And no matter what, I will have that forever. Nobody can ever take away that time because it has already happened and it has already made its impact on me. It’s given my life meaning and happiness and the best two months of my life. For better or for worse, these experiences helped make me the man I am today. That’s a pretty cool thing to think about.
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<p>There’s nothing like late night, deep talks, and solving the world’s problems. In Madrid, I’m looking to learn as much as I can, get to know as many people as I can, and get outside my comfort zone as much as I can. Come join the adventure.</p>