The Seven Year Itch
- Posted by James Altucher
You might be me. Did you ever think of that? In seven years every atom on my body will be replaced by new atoms. That’s just the way the universe works. Atoms are only on your body for a vacation (7 years. The 7 Year itch.)
Then they take off and find somewhere new to go. They might even end up in you. Some of them probably will.
What atoms? Some hydrogen, some oxygen. Some carbon I guess. I don’t know. There’s chemistry all over your body. And its largely disgusting. You know you probably only have about 10 trillion cells on you. But guess how many microbes that could even be categorized as living insects are on you this very second. About 100 trillion. They should build a social network and go public. Or pubic. Haha.
So the human body is about 10% human and 90% insect. You need those insects to keep you alive.
But who cares about that. I’m more concerned about my atoms. For instance, the atoms on my fingers, typing this article. I’ll miss them when they are gone. They were good to me. Where will they end up seven years from now?
Maybe they will end up on you? Maybe seven years from now you will be more me than I am! You will have more of my atoms from the past four decades than I will have, perhaps.
You never know.
I already miss the 5 year old me. He had fun all the time. But his atoms are 100% different than mine now.
Does that mean he wasn’t me? Does that mean he was a completely different person. Something links that little boy and me
But we had different atoms.
For the most part we had different emotions
For the most part we had different thoughts and completely different ways of thinking.
We probably even prayed to different gods. I know this, based on the psychic email message he has sent me through something called “memory” which may or may not have been hacked: he prayed to the sun (because it was fun), he prayed to snow (sledding!), he prayed for grandma (gifts!), he prayed for a big BM (we still have that in common).
So who was that stranger. That 5 year old little punk calling himself “James”. And seven years from now, who will that stranger be who carries my name and thinks he has some claim on the memories I’m living now. He won’t even remember 1/10 the stuff I do today. That 5 year old is gone. His atoms dispersed throughout the universe. Even yesterday’s version of me is pretty much different in a billion ways than I am now (probably most of those 100 trillion microbes that kept me alive have been destroyed and replaced by their kin).
As for tomorrow’s version…? He’s a complete stranger to me now. He’s dead to me.
Four years ago I was scared of losing money. I was scared of losing a marriage. I was scared of losing my kids. I started a business or two and lost them. Was that me? The atoms are different. I’m actually healthier now so I have healthy atoms on me. The emotions are different (I stopped hanging out with crappy people. I realized I didn’t need to be afraid all the time. Or insecure) My thoughts are different (I have a lot more ideas every day thanks to my regimen of the daily practice, I blog every day). Spiritually I’m different. I don’t even know if I had a spiritual life then. Now, whatever spiritual even means, I know I have it. I’m still anxious about taking care of all the people around me. But to some extent I like to do that.
And so given that I know this, who will I be tomorrow, or four years from now, or 7, or 50.
I will tell you who I will be. The food I eat and the air I breath and the emotions and thoughts I “eat” (since they help with digestion and infection and immunity). And that’s it. There’s nothing else. I don’t get matter or atoms from anywhere else.
And what about my atoms now?
I’ll be the shit that hit the fan. I’ll be particles heading towards the center of a black hole. I’ll be atoms and microbes probably inside every other human being and animal on the planet. What do you say sister? You’re the love of my life. Because probably all of your atoms were on me at some point and mine are on you. I hope, then, you will be nice to me.
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