I have been thinking about my universe lately. Everyone. And everything. That orbits around me.
It’s a lot of people. It’s a lot of things.
All the beauty. All the misery. All the everything.
Think about yours. Think about all your people. All of your stuff.
Your career. Your health. Your finances. Your life.
Think about everything that exists in your universe. Everything that orbits around you. Just like the planets in our solar system orbit the sun.
I keep thinking about the size of different planets in my world. How they change over time. Some starting small. Then growing to the size of Jupiter. Some coming from distant parts of the galaxy. To now orbiting as close as Mercury does the sun. Still others. Once were the size of Saturn. Once had rings just as striking. But they have faded away. To be as far and as small and as invisible. As Pluto.
Relegated. To no longer even having status as a planet.
Not in my system.
I consider all the planets orbiting me. How they influence me. How they affect me. I have planets in my system large enough to move me. With force enough to move me. With force enough to change the position of the sun.
Planets move their stars. If they’re big enough. If their pull is strong enough.
One way astronomers find exoplanets is by observing something called the radial velocity of stars. Studying and seeing. Not the planets themselves. But the effects planets have on the stars that they orbit. Astronomers would see those stars wobble. And know that planets were there.
There are giant forces in my life. In all of our lives. Big enough. To move us with their pull. To move us from the very place we planted ourselves.
People. Career. Health. All potential forces.
It could be anything really. It varies depending on who you are. It changes depending on where you are in life.
But a shift in a planet’s orbit. Can change our position.
Sometimes for better.
Sometimes for worse.
But this world isn’t all about me. Despite how I put myself at the center. Not everything revolves around me.
I’m realizing that more and more.
Not everything is happening to me. It is just happening.
I take myself out of the center of the universe.
I am no longer in the center. Not even of my own universe.
And I put someone close to me in it. Seeing everything happening through their eyes. Through their lens.
I watch how this universe changes. I watch some planets grow. And some shrink. Some completely vanish. Some new planets appear.
There are planets in this universe, that I can’t even see. But I can see that star. The one I put in the center. I can see it wobble. I can see the effects on the radial velocity. And even though I may not know exactly what the planets looks like. I know they are there.
There is one planet. In this alternate universe. That looks very familiar to me.
Because the planet is me. I’m not the star here. I’m orbiting this star.
If I observe myself long enough here. I see myself get close. And far. From this star. I see myself get big. And small.
I see how what I do. Makes this star wobble.
Think of that responsibility.
Can you truly understand. How your role in someone else’s universe shapes them? Can you see how your life pulls them towards you? Or pushes them away?
Can you see? With your own eyes. If you are good? Or bad for their world?
I’m now asking myself these questions.
How does this change my decision making process? With me no longer at the center. My personal benefit counts for less in this universe. It means so so so so much less.
Now do this. Watch something happen. An event. A major event. A birth or death. A career change. A serious illness. Watch it all happen to this other world. See what changes happen to this world. In this world.
Now look at your own solar system. After this same event. See the changes to your world. How are they the same? How are these changes different?
There are definitely differences. Sometimes huge differences. Between your system. And everyone else’s. In reactions to the same event. Depending on how the planets are aligned.
Understand that with all things.
Now let’s get on Einstein’s bicycle.
And travel to and through different solar systems. A hundred other planetary systems. A thousand.
The stars are all different people. With all these things happening to them. With all these planets orbiting them. Some universes may look similar. Many look very very different. Even people close to you.
There probably isn’t a star with even one planet. That is the exact same size. In the exact same location. At the exact same time. As any planet in my system.
I see myself in all of these systems.
I am the size Jupiter in some. I am Pluto in others.
I am barely dust in an asteroid belt. In many.
I orbit so many other people. Yet I have been making decisions with myself at the center.
This is not my world. This is the world. I am not the only star. I live amongst stars.
It begs me to ask questions. Can I truly make decisions with someone else’s best interest in mind? Can I truly make choices that other people will benefit from?
What if those decisions are for the health of another planetary system, but to the detriment of mine?
My goal is to make these kinds of choices. What I consider to be. The right kinds of choices.
I have a pretty good feeling. That the health of my own system. Depends on the health of other systems. The health of so many other systems.
We live in a galaxy with 7 billion stars.
Some with many planets. Some with few. Some with comets coming in and out. Some with planets coming and going. Some with several large planets. Some with many many many small planets. All with debris floating around the asteroid belt. Like memories lurking in someone’s brain.
None better or worse. These are just the worlds that people create.
Now I get back on Einstein’s bike and I ride home. My solar system looks different. Smaller.
Most people live their lives as the center of their own universe. All these people and experiences revolving around them. Through their own lens.
I have lived that way for many. Many years now.
I am ashamed to say.
But no more. I am not the only star in the sky. Far from it.
I know now. I am not in the center of any universe.
I finally understand that I was never in the center.
That there is no center.
And in understanding my orbit around so many other stars. In understanding the effects on radial velocity from my actions. By what I do. I am hopeful I can be a bit more gentle in my approach. And a bit more understanding when I’m not.
And in knowing the effects on the radial velocity from other planets. I’m hopeful that I can be more understanding overall. In all times. When I’m close to a wobbling. Shifting. Or even a violently shaking star.