This past week, together with some other exchange students, I decided to go on a road trip around the Baltic States for eight days. I had been feeling very overwhelmed and decided to follow my step 4 of “Me Days” :- “Go out and have fun. Plan trips that you have always wanted to do!”. A road trip of this kind has always been in my To Do List, and it was as good as I wanted it to be. It was both tiring and relaxing at the same time. A perfect mixture of informative exploring and fun exploring.
However, between the excitement of the first day, the walking on icy sea/lake/river, the cold wind, the amazing stories of old buildings, and hundreds of stair climbings, I kept thinking of the phenomena of taking things and people for granted. I have actually lost count of how many times I have taken someone for granted and then lost that person, or how many times someone has taken me for granted and then ended up losing me. Taking someone for granted means that you unconsciously ensure yourself that you will always have that person around, therefore you stop trying and stop putting effort into the relationship. It does not only work with people but places, nature, opportunities, and life in general. People are usually prone to the principle of the least effort- sticking to the status quo because it is easier than leading towards change. Such principle allows us to create the idea that things are a certain way and they will not change.
According to the second law of thermodynamics, the entropy (the tendency towards chaos) in isolated systems does not decrease due to the lack of interaction. However, in non-isolated systems that interact with one another by creating balances the entropy slightly decreases. Humans have the tendency to consider themselves as centers of the universe, meaning that it is easier for us to be isolated islands and consider ourselves in relation to the environment than the other way around. Additionally, the second law of thermodynamics requires the existence of systems that have reached an equilibrium. Being organisms that survive in groups, but considering ourselves as organisms that can survive alone, makes it rather difficult to reach balances within our lives. Thus, sooner or later we find ourselves in complexed equations of life that have the tendency to go towards chaos. Our interests crush, the people around us change, and the life we used to have does not exist anymore, by thus fulfilling the principle of maximum entropy production- systems that do not reach equilibrium will increase their entropy to the point of catastrophic chaos. As I have mentioned in a previous post, human beings are not good at using Realpolitik properly.
For the first time in my life, I have seen frozen beaches and walked on them, a frozen lake and walked on it, a frozen river and walked on it. Terrified for my life in every step, but yet excited to see something different. Standing there knowing that in every moment the ice might break and I might have found myself at the bottom of the sea/lake/ river, I looked across the horizon and wondered: Have I taken nature for granted? Am I taking my life for granted? And the answer is: Yes, I have! Yes, I am!
Only in times of grief and wonder, we realize what we have lost, and we realize how different things would be if we only would consider another perspective. As I stood there, happy to have finally seen water in all its shapes, I kept wondering: Have YOU taken me for granted? And the answer is: Yes, you have! And that might mean that you lost me. But the truth is that I have taken you for granted as well, and we lost each other along the way.
As I was climbing the stairs towards hills in different cities across the Baltic States (having flashbacks), losing my breath in every step, I kept wondering: Is it worth it to keep going forward and never look back? At the top of the hill, looking down the city I smiled and thought: No matter how much you move forward without looking back, your past together with everything you took for granted and everyone who took you for granted will follow you along the way. And at the end of it, at the top of the hill, your life will lie there waving at you and probably those people you lost, those things you can now never have, were gone for a good reason.