Monday, March 21, 2011

99 Things to do Before the Apocalypse

by Samrat X

The world’s imminent demise has been predicted by all sorts of people down the ages, and by now there’s quite a menu of options to how it could end. Would you like to get knocked off by an asteroid or comet, sink under rising seas as polar ice caps melt due to global warming, or freeze as the next ice age comes upon us, or get sucked into a black hole created in a nuclear experiment? At a pinch, if none of this works, we could always blow ourselves to clouds of vapour in a nuclear war.

The day this will happen is well known. Please mark it on your calendars: December 21, 2012. By now you’ve surely heard of the ancient Mayan prediction that the world will end on that day.

There is, therefore, so much to do, and so little time. To make sure I don’t miss out on anything really important, I’m putting together a list of 99 Things to Do Before the Apocalypse.

For starters, I’ve quit my job and started traveling. Heck, if this world and everything on it including me is going to end up, er, ended up, I want to see it before it pops. What a waste of a world and a life it would be to die without knowing what the world I lived on is like.

Secondly, I’ve decided to spend more quality time with people I like and care about. If life is short it would be wise to spend the time in good company.

Third, I’ve decided to live without fear…to live like I’m dying. Far too often the choices we make are dictated by absurd worries. We then live pained lives trying to convince ourselves we’ve averted a disaster, or even half hoping the worst will actually occur, because we made life choices worrying it might. It’s a bit like sleeping under the bed every night because you’re afraid an earthquake might strike.

Well, buildings do need to be designed to resist earthquakes. That makes sense. Lives, however, cannot yet be designed to avert death. That is a certainty every human is born with. In other words, in the context of human life, the worst will definitely happen. The best design for a good life therefore is one that is not cut unduly short, and allows for time well spent.

Individual ideas of what constitutes time well spent may vary. However there are some things essentially human that people across time and space seem to cherish.

A good meal is one. Good sleep is another. Loving relationships come next. Time spent in creative work or work that contributes to the social good would also count for something. If you’re spending too much of your time of life on other stuff, you’re probably making a mistake. You may not get that now. It will strike you when apocalypse comes, which could be tomorrow or a year and something from now.

It is likely that in the end this doomsday prediction will prove to be as false as all the ones that have come before it. That’s great. We humans need to be reminded of apocalypse from time to time to get some perspective into our lives.

That sales figure, that assignment, that crotchety boss, that lovers’ tiff, that ego tussle…you know what? It’s probably not that important.

This is the first of my columns for DNA

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