Mayflies. These little creatures have literally changed my life and brain. It all started when I stumbled upon this video back in 2012 by one of my favorite humans Neil deGrasse Tyson as he answered a question about his opinion about life and longevity. His answer can be summaries in that: a short life is a good thing to inspire focus. however, the part that I like the most in his funny way of storytelling and describing things is the following part.
I think of the mayfly that lives no more than 24 hours, what is life like to them? They’ll never see a sunrise if they’re born in the daytime. The things that we take for granted that they never see. So every minute of their life would be like, oh, it’s a wall! It’s a ceiling! It’s a moon! It’s a grass! Everything is this life experience that’s captured and presumably valued in their little brains. So I’d like to take my 75 years on this planet and be like the mayfly thinking they’re only living for a day and just take it all in.
I recall than when I immediately changed my Twitter bio to “Living my life like a mayfly” and it was one of the major influences on my decision to make my leap of faith, quit pursuing a career, and get a one-way ticket to Japan and starting another fork in my lifeline. Thinking, if I were a mayfly, then doing something scary and uncertain would be much valued in my short life after all.