As We Approach the End of the World

This is it, folks! The end of the world… again! In case the first time in Y2K didn’t go as planned, you get another shot to make amends before everything changes. Return the neighbor’s lawnmower so they go remembering you fondly. Tell your estranged mother how much you actually miss her and wish she’d been in your life so you can spend a day together before the end. Take the Carnivore Challenge at the giant pizza place. #NoRegrets, amirite?

Shout “To hell with it all!” and begin to check items off your bucket list. Grab your best friend, get in the car, and drive. Abandon reality and head to the places you’ve always wanted to visit. Make the most epic mixtape you’ve ever created in your entire life and rock out to it for about five hundred miles before you realize that there’s a whole crowd of people you haven’t told you love. Turn around at the next gas station and drive home as fast as you can.

Make a clichéd Facebook status about “the end of the world as we know it” before shutting your laptop, reclining in bed, and staring at the ceiling pondering the meaning of your life. Have you really done everything you wanted to with your life? Do you have your dream job? Have you fallen in love? Have you changed anyone’s life? Are you happy?

Wonder briefly, despite yourself, how it’s going to happen. Is it fireballs raining down on earth? A huge-ass meteor like the one that got the dinosaurs? A giant hurricane that sweeps the globe? Last-minute nuclear war? Or is it zombies after all? You’re temporarily comforted by the fact that you at least prepared for the zombies. You wonder if you’ll ever be as prepared as these guys.

In the back of your mind you’ve known the world isn’t really going to end. But what does that matter? Was your mini-road trip meaningless? Were those declarations of love just obligatory sentiments? Wasn’t that pizza damn good?

Soon enough, there will probably be yet another prediction of the apocalypse. Maybe some attention-seeking self-proclaimed prophet will say, Now hold on a minute, the Mayans were off by a day, and you’ll get to do the whole thing all over again tomorrow. And undoubtedly someone else will say, No, it’s the next day, and you could find yourself doing this over and over.

Sure, of course you don’t want everyone, including yourself, to die in the fiery explosion that destroys the Earth. But the end of the world is appealing in that it signifies a new start. As one thing ends, a new thing begins. You get a clean slate when you wake up safe and sound on December 22, 2012. Maybe yesterday you thought you were going to die, and here you are, still in your room, finding the universe has given you a second chance. Take that second chance and run with it. Instead of waiting for another declaration of the apocalypse to tell your family and friends how much they mean to you, tell them every day. Live each day like it’s your last, in every sense of the phrase.

As we approach the end of the world, I’m desperate for that clean slate. It’s the perfect excuse for another reevaluation, a reinvention, a redo on my line of thinking and my lifestyle. I find myself wondering where I’ll be when the next apocalypse comes around. All I can do is hope that the universe will work itself out—that wherever I am, I’ll be in a good place, and I’ll be truly happy.

And that we all don’t actually die. Because that would suck.