The world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as…?

david bowie


Four days ago, Dean Podesta tweeted the statement above. Two days ago, David Bowie passed away. A dark coincidence yet an opportune moment to reflect upon the great minds surrounding us. I was never David Bowie’s number 1 fan but I can’t deny the facts: he was legendary!

When I saw this tweet, it got me thinking beyond. Who would be my first choice? Who am I lucky to share this planet with? Who, amongst all the great people in this world, am I grateful for (besides my family and friends)? Is it a composer? A writer? A politician? So often, we lose our heads over the cruelty some are capable of and we forget to praise the great minds, those who changed our lives in one way or another and those who continue to do so.

So who would it be?

I am a writer, pianist and architect so for the purpose of this task, I shall stick to what I know : the creative minds.



I managed to exist at the same time as Tahar Ben Jelloun and this makes me want to write even more. I have written about him before, even reviewed one of the greatest books on this planet in a guest post for Ula and yet, it doesn’t seem like enough praise.

Other writers have marked my existence too, Chris Cleave with his powerful novel The Other Hand, Colum McCann and his literary masterpiece Let The Great World Spin, Arthur Golden with Memoirs of A Geisha – a stunningly poetic novel which I recently mentioned while writing about the Noh smile, Albert Espinosa and his Yellow World, a book which changed me without a doubt and so many more. But Ben Jelloun holds a special place in my heart and his storytelling talent is what I strive for.


I understand that many bands and singers have been called genre-defining and revolutionary but none of them figure amongst my top choices. I would rather have to mention Patty Griffin, Regina Spektor, Mumford & Sons (barring their new album…), Dry The River, Damien Rice, Vienna Teng and many, MANY more.


I have shared my playlists before, especially the music I listen to while writing, but when I really think about it, I managed to exist at the same time as Hans Zimmer (what an achievement!), Armand Amar, Ibrahim Maalouf, Yann Tiersen and, despite his vote in support of tax credit cuts for the working poor, Andrew Lloyd Webber for his unforgettable Phantom Of The Opera.


Everyone these seems to adore Zaha Hadid but let me tell you one thing (politely): there is so much more to architecture than fluid, shapeless, all-blending-into-one forms. There are a few “big names” in the world of architecture and it seems like “designed a skyscraper” = “great architect”.

Instead, we should all turn our eyes towards the stuff that matters, those who really make a difference. Have a look at Studio Weave, Townshend Landscape Architects, Assemble, dRMM Architects and a special bonus: Casagrande Laboratory! (the list is not exhaustive)

Well, if you’ve ever felt like you were born too late or too early, think again.

Who would YOU pick? Who are you glad to share this planet with?


Thanks for reading.
Hop on my Facebook and Twitter caravans.


11 responses to “The world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as…?

  1. A few years ago I was doing a history lesson with my third graders, and I was shocked to learn Rosa Parks died when I was 25 years old. Until that moment she was a distant historical figure – not sure how I missed the news of her death when it happened, but anyway. I had never considered I shared earthly space with such an important historical icon for two and a half decades. It floored me.


    • Wow, I can imagine that being quite a shocking revelation. I’m sure something similar has happened to me and I don’t even know it yet.
      Thank you so much for sharing your example. You’ve made me think.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What an amazing treat this post is, especially the architecture sites – an unfamiliar world to me. Your choices are both diverse and of a piece in their imagination and awareness of values that matter. They are a lovely slice of your autobiography.

    For me? David Attenborough; Lech Walesa; Fred Williams (Australian artist); Primo Levi: Peter Singer (tough philosopher); Peter Sculthorpe (Australian composer); Doris Lessing; Margaret Drabble; Stella Bowen (Australian artist); Paul Brock (friend and Motor Neurone Disease “sufferer” and advocate); Germaine Greer (especially in her manifestation as rainforest restorer.) Stop me!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you’re calling this a treat. Your list is incredibly intriguing and I may have to spend an hour or two discovering most of those names you mentioned. I already have to agree with David Attenborough. He is an absolute pleasure to listen to and his discoveries have changed the world for sure!!
      Thanks for your list, Meg! Really!


  3. This is an interesting idea, and your list is certainly diverse and sophisticated. Autobiographical in a way.

    My list is simpler. I was politicized during the Viet Nam war, a draft dodger of sorts. The experience left an indelible impression. Pierre Elliot Trudeau, John Kennedy, Nelson Mandela and Ghandi (just barely) are political figures I would love to have a coffee with. Jerry Eulsmann awakened me to photography and its possibilities. Leonard Cohen’s music moves and inspires me still.

    I’m certain if I spent more time, others would come to mind.

    Nice post :)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Alan Rickman, I hate cancer with all my heart, now more than ever. | A Writer's Caravan·

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