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Star

Dear G,

I'm very picky about how I organize my desk. I keep it clean and uncluttered so I can focus on my work. I limit what's allowed on my desk and put everything else in a pile on the floor next to it. But there are two things missing from my desktop: a picture of the earth against a backdrop of the stars in the infinite universe, and a picture of you.

I want a picture of the grandness of the stars to give me perspective while I work. I spend a lot of time and energy on my work because I'm passionate about what I do and I like the people I do it with. But sometimes I have disagreements or misunderstandings with my coworkers, customers, and software programs. The stars remind me that the work I do, although important, is still a small part of the universe. I live during the slightest sliver in the history of the universe, and any conflicts I have are even smaller parts of that slightest sliver, so I shouldn't take them too seriously.

The stars also remind me that there is much more to life beyond work. Life is not work. Instead, work is a small part of life. The world has much to see and do besides what's at my desk, so I shouldn't work too hard. I should get up and go out. Life is short, so I should seek the people whose presence I cherish and spend my precious time with them doing other activities that I enjoy.

I want a picture of you because you are like a bright star that guides me as I traverse through the decisions and difficulties of modern life.

You remind me of what I work for. I work so that we can live a life together in this work-to-survive capitalist society. I work so that I may be a productive member of society and give you the dignity and respect of being associated with one. I work so that we can afford to enjoy nice things in our home, such as beautiful paintings of our favorite sceneries and animals. I work so that the next time I'm with you, I'm smarter and sharper, and I have more stories to tell and more ways to make you laugh.

You also remind me of what there is to do besides work. It's easy for me to get lost in work as the day passes. Seeing you during the day reminds me that I should eat healthy even though we have unlimited snacks in the office. Seeing you reminds me that at the end of the day, I get to spend time with you. I get to eat dinner with you, play sports with you, and read poetry with you. Seeing you helps me get through the tough days and reminds me on the good days that there's even more in life for me to enjoy because I'll be with you.

When I imagine picture frames of you and the stars next to each other, I get magical thoughts.

It's easy to wonder whether there's another planet in the universe where creatures meet, eat, and converse like we do. I think it's possible that there was life as we know it on a planet far away at a time millions of years ago, but that such life is now buried under rubble and climate change like human society is bound to be. I imagine it's possible that if we were to look at the right place in the sky with the right telescope at the right time, then we would see that there was life on another planet, but that such life is so many light years away that it no longer exists by the time its light reaches our eyes.

The idea that life may have existed somewhere else at a time when we didn't reaffirms my belief that I'm very lucky to live at the same time and place as you. It's remarkable that we are biologically sophisticated enough to interact with each other to the extent that we can, and it's even more remarkable that we are able to do so at the same time and place. Life is remarkable, and I'm lucky to enjoy it with you.

T