5 billions years ago, which means that the Universe must be at least twice that old and probably older, maybe twenty billion years or so.
Therefore, whatever we do for posterity isn't going to matter much in light of the huge expanse of time and space that is a fact in front of us every star-lit night.
To think otherwise would be more than folly; it would border on arrogance and conceit regarding our place in this universe, which is no more than an insignificant speck of dust.
If we become really successful and really, really famous writers:) our legacy might live on for thousands of years like the Buddha and Christ.
But that is but a drop in the bucket when we speak of a billion years, which is a million thousand years.
Unfortunately, most of us will be long forgotten after our second or third generation.
We can usually remember our great grandfather and grandmother, but for the vast majority of us no one comes to mind before that.
When the sun flares out in a billion or so more years, it will take the entire solar system with it, including the earth.
Then everything will be gone; all of our achievements, our history, and our human race.
So no matter what we do, what we accomplish, or how famous we become, it's all only temporary.
Even if we escape to a distant star someday, that star will eventually flare out too, and even to a distant galaxy, which will disappear as well when the universe contracts.
So what are we left with? Our religions tell us that we will survive, that regardless of material existence and what happens to it, we will be reunited with our immediate families in heaven - kind of like a glorified earthly existence.
As each person dies, they will join their relatives in heaven.
But how large will our immediate families be after a billion or so years? It will require a big Thanksgiving table up there in heaven, that's for sure! Let's see; five generations per 100 years, times three offspring per generation (two to replace the parents and one left over), and times - oh let's just say a billion years or so to keep it simple (eternity is a long time!) - that equals a lot of people! Fifty million to be exact.
(And you have trouble keeping track of your grandkid's names now!) What happens after death we can only speculate about depending upon what books we read, whom we believe, or what personal experiences we've had.
But we won't really know what happens until we actually die and find out, and that's well into the future.
Regarding the past; everything that has happened to us yesterday we project into the future in our minds.
Non of it's real, just based on past memories.
The future will never turn out exactly as we plan, and past memories will always be inexact and embellished by our minds.
The only thing that is real is the moment that stands between the past and the future, which is right now.
But the moment is very quick - oops, see, it slipped away already while we were talking! There can be no future or past in the immediacy of this moment.
Therefore, right now, we can truly say that we are eternal because eternity rests in this very moment when time stands still, and when time stands still, that is eternity.
This is complicated and difficult to comprehend, but if you think about the enormity of this very moment, you will see how living it will change your entire outlook on life.
No longer will you have to be concerned about setting yourself up for a heavenly future; making all the right moves and not angering a God.
In this moment, you will not be bothered about your past, regardless of what it entailed.
Right now, in this moment, you are reborn every nanosecond, free and unfettered from either your past or future.
This is the true freedom, right here, right now.
This is where a mind becomes uncluttered and super-creative.
And therefore, right now, in this very moment, everything matters.