We are stardust

William Liao
1 min readMay 30, 2023


99% of the atoms in your body are made of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus.

Six things.

The Big Bang gave you hydrogen.

Low-Mass stars (like the sun) gave you your oxygen and carbon.

High-mass stars gave you nitrogen, and some more oxygen and carbon.

And finally, when these high-mass stars became a supernova, they provided you with calcium and phosphorous.

Next time you are feeling overwhelmed with life, consider for a moment that we are born of the ashes of bright and beaming stars, sprung to life through a series of very specific cosmic conditions.

This is the definition of a miracle.

Life is not perfect — many of us will experience rough patches throughout it.

But when you manage to stop to smell the roses through this lens, you arrive at three beautiful and humbling realizations:

  1. Just how good the roses smell when you pay attention to them.
  2. The fact that there are roses.
  3. The fact that you get to be here to smell them at all.



William Liao

Taiwanese American, daily blogger of ideas about impactful work in service of others, photographer (ephemera.photography)