Amber Lightning

United States

Grade: 9th
Pronouns: She/Her
Likes: Skiing, Art & Music, Science & Space
Random Fact: I am missing an adult tooth

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What are the Odds you're Alive?

October 18, 2020

        So there’s you. And you exist if you're reading this. So what, you might think. It’s just me. Famous or not, successful or not, content or not, I’m just another human being. And so are almost 8 billion other people in the world, with our population exponentially growing. But let me tell you this: you are a miracle. Now, to answer why that statement is true, we have to ask another question: What are the odds you are alive? 
        Some might say pretty big. Some might say it’s fate. But let me take you on a scientific and fact-based journey to really find out how special you are.  

        Your biological mother had 1 million eggs when she was born. By the time she reached puberty, she only had 300,000 left. Of these, only 300 to 400 will be ovulated. After some easy calculations we can determine that the gamete that made you was about in the 0.04% of total eggs at birth. So right off the bat, the odds you were among those is 0.04%. 
        Now, your biological father on the other hand, produced several million sperm per day. I’m not going to go into more detail here, but you get the idea. What are the odds you were conceived by those two people, when they could have been with billions of other people? What are the odds they made you that day? That minute? There are millions of different sibling combos they could have made, but what are the odds it was you? That you’re conscious and thinking right now? That your heart is beating right now? 

        Now, you may think you’re pretty lucky. But get this. Your parents had parents. Who had parents. Who had parents. Hundreds upon thousands of generations ago, if one thing had been different, if one woman miscarried, got the plague and died, married off to someone else, or didn’t take a chance that led them to their partner, it’s really likely you wouldn’t be here. This is called the butterfly effect. One small choice can have huge consequences. And I’m not just talking about in the history of mankind. 
What about the species we evolved from? If some jawless slug fish thing had been eaten or didn’t find anything to eat, and didn’t pass it’s traits down, things might look different around here. Every action has an equal opposite reaction. Every fight or flight instinct has consequences. Every split second decision has an outcome. And this has been happening for a long time: Scientists predict life started nearly 4 billion years ago. 

        We know for sure, of only 1 planet in the observable universe that has life on it. What are the odds life exists in the first place? Why are we here? What the hell even is life? 
Clearly I’ve had some trouble sleeping in the past to have written that. 

       But that all did happen. And your biological father’s and mother’s gametes formed a zygote. You could have died from that moment on. Miscarriage. Stillborn. Strangled by your umbilical cord. Died of disease. Car crash. Natural disaster. Drowned in your neighbor’s pool. Crushed by a vending machine. The list goes on and on. 
        For most developing countries, the odds of surviving to adulthood are better. But the point is, the fact that you're alive right now is a miracle. There's no other way to describe it. The odds that you even exist in the first place are infinitesimally small. 

      Every little choice you make changes the path of things. Your future. Others' futures. Have faith in the knowledge that you are alive and a miracle and that you have the power to change the future. 

       Emma Casella


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  • October 18, 2020 - 8:47pm (Now Viewing)

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  • JustAnotherDarling

    I feel special now. thank you :)
    also, i should thank you because you have provided me with the best go-to line for "how are you?": not crushed by a vending machine...yet :D

    11 months ago
  • Huba Huba

    I'm questioning my existence.

    11 months ago
  • Ella C

    Just want to say that is really inspiring and I feel like a lot of people need to read this!

    11 months ago