End of the World

Supposedly, the world will end on December 21, 2012, but I don’t believe that. There were plenty of other times in the past when the world was predicted to come to a crashing halt, but of course, we’re all still here and the planet is fine (well, as fine as it is possible to be, at any rate).

“Apocalypse” (a neat word and quite fun to say) is a Greek word that doesn’t mean “end of the world.” It means “revelation” or “unveiling.” We call the end of the world the “apocalypse” because that is supposedly when everything will be revealed to us. If you’re a Christian, that is when Jesus will come back to earth to reveal untruths, sins, and the fate of the world. If you don’t believe in God, or you’re not a Christian, the apocalypse could mean many different things: an epic zombie attack, a shift in the space-time continuum, an asteroid crashing into the planet, global warming devastating our planet, dinosaurs returning… anything.

But if you knew, for an absolute fact, that the end of the world was coming in a month, what about your life would be revealed to you? Would you realize that you should spend more time with your loved ones? Would you realize you need to have fun in life? Would you realize that your life, in fact, was only half lived? It really makes you think… and stressful situations like that reveal a lot more in a short period of time than anything else would.

Or what about the end of your world, meaning your own death? That’s something I’ve been thinking about lately. The majority of us have no idea when we will die… when the end of our world will come. It’s that age-old question: If you knew you only had one day to live, how would you spend it? I think the answer to that question reveals a lot about who we are as people. And if you happened to come to the end of your world tomorrow, how would you be remembered at your funeral?

I know these are really morbid questions, but for some reason, they circulate through my head a lot, and I doubt I’m the only one who ever thinks or wonders about these things.

Since then ’tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.

-Emily Dickinson, “Because I could not stop for death”

9 thoughts on “End of the World

  1. I don’t think the question is morbid, and I am not making light of it when I say the issue is more one of budgeting than avoidance.

    On the main, this is a good question. But it could be asked in any of a wide number of scenarios. It boils down to: are you satisfied with who you are and what you’ve done so far?

    The answer must surely be one of two things. Yes, I’m fine. Or, I’ve got more to do. The third, and probably more common (and useless) answer is, “oh, no! I’ve failed, I’m doomed, I’ve wasted my time.”

    In my opinion, the time spent bemoaning wasted time is the biggest “waste of time” around.

    I would hope I would not do things differently, but I do think of what Isaac Asimov said when asked what he would do if he discovered he had only a month to live. “Type a little faster,” he said.

    MAGGIE: I actually have a stronger answer to your thought-provoking post, but as I don’t know your readership that well, I’ve elected to answer on my own blog, UphillWriting.org. It is not my intention to hijack either your readers or your topic, so please feel free to edit out part or all of this message as you see fit.

    Thanks for the question!

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  2. I don’t think the world will end any time soon but if it did then I’m not sure what I’d think. If it ended next month, I’d probably try and do things I’ve always wanted to do. But they wouldn’t be things like climb a mountain or visit a country I’ve always wanted to visit. It would be something that is small but meaningful – like telling someone that you love them. A very thought-provoking post 🙂

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  3. This post was almost responsible for me being late to work this morning. 🙂 The reason is that I hadn’t known about the real meaning of “apocalypse,” and I started to wonder which one they were thinking of when they made the movie Apocalypse Now. Both meanings would seem to apply, but thinking about it puts the movie in a new light.

    I don’t have any idea what I would do if I had one day left (but I wouldn’t go to work, that’s for sure). I do have some idea about funerals, since I wrote a funeral once which I really liked. (In a different place I wrote my idea of a really great wedding, too).

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    1. I wouldn’t go to work either. I guess that’s sad that I’m not happy enough at my job to want to be there on my last day, but I think I’d take spending time with loved ones over any job.

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  4. Not morbid at all, Maggie . . . just the opposite.
    They are LIFE AFFIRMING.

    When we answer them mindfully, we are more able to see whether we are focused on our priorities . . . or just coasting to the tune of everyone else’s drum.

    If I only had one month to live . . . I’d make very few changes to my daily routing. Except that I would probably eat MORE CHOCOLATE! 😀

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