Thursday, December 20, 2012

The End is Your Friend

This is the end, my friend. It's a line we all know, and it brings with it a certain sense of doom, but the end of the world may actually be a good thing.

First of all, it's not happening. Experts have weighed in on the Mayan Calendar debate and their consensus is that the end of a long cycle does not mean the end of the world. It's pretty likely we will all be around, at least for a little while longer.

Second of all, it's good to think about the world on a larger scale and to think of our lives in a realistic manner. We are not going to live forever. We should not live like we are going to live forever. Thinking about ourselves as mortal beings with a limited time on earth should force us to think about the harder questions: what does our life mean? What do we want out of it? How do we want to be remembered? Who do we love?

Most of us are consumed with a routine lifestyle where our ambitions don't take us much beyond what we want to have for lunch that day. We worry about inconsequential and material things like the size of our tv or whether or not it's a good time to buy a car. We put off the things that we desire the most, sometime shelving our dreams for another day that never comes. We put off being with the people that we value the most or telling them just how important they are, assuming that they either already know, or that we will have plenty of time to tell them later. We take everything important for granted.

And then something happens that temporarily jolts us out of this mindframe. A doomsday prophecy, a natural disaster, or something horrific like a shooting. Sometimes the incidents are closer to home, as we survive accidents, fires, or other dangerous times. Those are the times that we have to face our mortality and ourselves.

It's a good time to take a moment and ask ourselves those questions we generally try to avoid. What do we truly want? What is holding us back? What are we afraid of? Are any of our fears real or do they belong to someone else? What is the worst that can happen? We're all on the clock; our time is coming at some point. What do we need to do to make that time worthwhile?

If asking these questions makes you feel uncomfortable or unsettled, that's also a good thing. Fear is not always your enemy; sometimes, it's your friend.

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