09/05/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

What Will Be Left in 4,000 Years?


In 2005, archaeologists unearthed the earliest empirical evidence of noodles ever found, a 4,000-year-old bowl of noodles in China. Scientists reported this as the earliest example of our staple dish ever found.

This bowl of preserved, thin and long yellow noodles was discovered inside an overturned sealed bowl at an archaeological site in northwestern China. It was buried under ten feet (three meters) of sediment.

The discovery also implies that the origins of the world's most popular food is in Asia and that noodles are not an Italian source. (Don't tell Guido that, though!)

This got me thinking about what matters over time, and what matters in life. What will survive 4,000 years from now? What will be left in 6010?


In the span of time, how important is it that I get bent out of shape about a scheduling conflict, or about someone who keeps me waiting, forever. How much time and energy do I spend lamenting the loss of a creative project I bid on, or a botched project that started out high and mighty but ran into a major hiccup and the whole thing crashes?

We could spend endless hours and dollars trying to re-live the past or we can focus our energy on resolving what didn't work and then move on to what's in front of us and making the present better.

In the bigger national picture, why does every administration spend any time paying attention to what didn't work during the previous President's administration? How much energy do we need to focus on that? Does it help the "today?" Does it matter for the tomorrows? Some, but not much. Best to move on.


A yummy bowl of noodles sounds good right about now, but in 6010? Thanks, I'll pass on that one, especially if it's 4,000 year old.

4,000 years from now, will all the worries and frets we have about yesterday or tomorrow be even a blip in time? Even next week, what we worry and fret about today will be gone. 4,000 years from now, instead of noodles, will pizza bites or a tray of French fries and a cheeseburger lay dormant, nestled in a pocket deep below the line-up of fast food restaurants along West 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues in New York City? Will archaeologists find a pile of SUVs hot-melted together in a giant lump ten feet underground somewhere in Los Angeles?

If it's metal that will survive the next 4,000 years, for sure the underground landscape will be peppered with all the metal from our prisons and jails across the U.S. If you're not concerned about the fact that the U.S, with 5% of the world's population, now houses 25% of the world's reported prisoners, then check out this eye-opening page to learn more.

Author Sunny Schwartz, nationally recognized expert in Criminal Justice reform, wrote a compelling book, Dreams from the Monster Factory: A Tale of Prison, Redemption, and One Woman's Fight to Restore Justice to All. It's worth the read! She writes about what matters, whether you're involved in criminal justice work or not. If you're a citizen of the world, a member of humanity, then this matters.

If you're like me, and want to appreciate your life rather than fret, a good start is to hold some gratitude for what is before you today. Even if it's a day with all it's bumps, big and small, a "bad day" is better than the alternative, no day at all. We'll all be six-feet under eventually, so to speak (or scattered to the winds) but I doubt we'll be discovered 4,000 years from now.

Yesterday left, and who really knows what tomorrow brings? Do you really want to miss out on life? Stick with what matters for today, and leave the rest.

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This is another Musing for Mutts Like Me.

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Email: deborah.kjs [at] gmail [dot] com

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