The Universe Freaks Me Out

By Caitlin Feldman on February 20, 2013


The universe freaks me out. I understand that it probably freaks you out too, but I want you to know that it’s worse for me. If I were to write out a list of my fears, at the top of that list would be “The Universe.” The second item would be “Tornadoes,” but that’s for a different time.

Okay, so we’re on this teeny tiny speck of dust, you know? And we live these lives and we work so hard and we screw up and we fall in love and we dance in the moonlight. The moonlight. We have a moon. What? How weird is that? But there are so many other moons and so many other planets and so many other galaxies and so many other universes and…and…I can’t breathe. Give me a second.

Phew. I just had a mild panic attack but I’m better now. Anyway. As I was saying, we live these lives but we are so immeasurably tiny. Like there’s the known universe, then the unknown universe, and whatever magic exists on the edge of something and nothing. Then back to Earth and here we are, typing away our fears on our laptops and wondering why the people we love never love us back.

But the universe is so big. THE UNIVERSE IS SO BIG. There is a storm on Mars that is constantly raging and stars long dead whose light we still see. There are satellites that we mistake for shooting stars and planes that we mistake for planets. And when we’re sitting in those planes, we pick out the lights of a car far below us and wonder where it’s headed. And the driver looks up to see our plane and wonders where we’re going. And for a moment, our souls collide.

Did you feel it?

There it was. That overwhelming feeling that there’s no word for, but it feels kind of like heartache mixed with the smell of your grandparent’s house mixed with the way you feel when you reread Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and you’re reminded that it’s still over.

And then I wonder why I never got my letter from Hogwarts and start questioning all of my life choices. And then…out of nowhere…BOOM…there’s that damn universe again, freaking me out. Don’t worry; I’m still breathing this time.

Which brings me to the point of my play-by-play panic attack. The universe is gargantuan and terrifying as hell, but when we’re laying on rooftops wishing on stars, it doesn’t seem quite as scary. It seems totally manageable, in fact.

So when I’m applying for jobs and thinking about life after college and having full-fledged panic attacks, I remind myself of the universe, and how if it can manage to exist out there in nothingness, I can certainly manage to successfully exist out here on Earth.

Catie is a senior journalism major with a minor in political science at the University of Oregon. Her life will be complete if she can turn both her love for traveling and storytelling into a career. She really likes hugs and dancing in her living room. She's weird, but you should follow her on Twitter @CatieFeldman.

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