What if those wacky Mayans were right. What if, at precisely the stroke of midnight on Dec. 21, 2012 (12-21-2112, if numerology’s your thing) — poof. Or… boom!!! Or nothing but salt and pepper static where the Earth used to be, like what we saw on TV back in the day, when programs actually ended at night.
What if, on Winter Solstice this year, as we reach the farthest point from the sun, we just lose our gravitational grip and go drifting out across the solar system, slowly bumping into Mars and Saturn like a massive billiard ball on its way to frozen oblivion.
Don’t worry, it won’t hurt. We’ll be frozen solid and/or out of oxygen by the time we get past the moon.
Thanks for nuthin’, Mayans.
If you bop around on the ‘net and google “Mayan prophecy” and “2012”, you’ll find all sorts of websites devoted to the end-of-the-world shebang. A few of the New Age websites offer a kinder, gentler fluffy-bunny interpretation of the Mayan doomsday prediction, claiming it won’t be the end of the world, but rather, an end of this age followed by a new one — an existential paradigm shift, planet-wide. In this New Age (get it?) fear, violence, greed and oppression will be replaced with love, compassion, generosity and freedom.
New Agers get a lot of grief from the smirking mainstream, smug scientists and religious fundamentalists, but I ask you: When was the last time New Agers started a war? Bankrupted the country? Committed genocide? Pound for pound, New Agers are way more appealing than Old Agers. All in all, I’d rather hang with the fluffy bunnies. Even if they’re wrong. I’ll have a much better time along the way. Besides, I really like tie-dyed yoga pants and kombucha tea and patchouli.
On a serious note, however … what if the New Agers are just seeing the future through rose-colored meditations, and the reality is that those mysterious Mayans are spot-on. They’re the ones who discovered “zero” after all, so maybe they know a thing or two about math that we don’t. Maybe through some sort of astrological Fibonacci phenomenon that they correctly computed, the mathematical sequence is complete on Dec. 21, and we turn inside out and around about on a metaphysical Möbius strip. In becomes out, up becomes down, left becomes right, and so on. Maybe positive becomes negative, and our lovely blue and green planet implodes into a black hole.
It could happen.
I’ll hazard a guess that it probably won’t, because I rather suspect that the only thing that will happen on Dec. 21 is that it will precede Dec. 22, but it’s possible. I mean, I could be wrong.
That could happen too.
It hasn’t yet, but there’s always a first time.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume those party-pooper Mayans are right. What if you proceeded into this new year with that as a given. You accept, with absolute certainty, that on the stroke of Dec. 21, all life as you know it will cease to be with one giant godsmack upside the planet’s head. Fade to black, roll the credits, that’s all He wrote.
Knowing that, every single remaining moment of every day up until that point becomes exceedingly precious. How will you spend those precious, finite moments? Will you waste them sitting in traffic jams driving to a job you hate? Staring slack-jawed at “reality” on the television screen? Allowing other people to steal, fritter and waste your time with their issues and squabbles and drama? Propping up relationships that are toxic or simply stale? Letting hours peel away while you watch cute kitten videos on YouTube?
I hope your answer is “Oh hayull no!”
Except for the kittens. I’m still down with the kittens. Let’s not go crazy with all this end-of-the-world hoopla.
Kitty crack aside, I challenge you to proceed into this year assuming it will be the last. Make a conscious choice about how you’ll spend the dwindling number of moments you have left. Get out of the passenger’s seat and get behind the wheel of your own life.
What have you always wished to do? Learn to fence? Travel to Sumatra? Do beatbox poetry in a seedy, sullen SOMA dive? Ride every wooden roller coaster in the country? Go skydiving or rock-climbing or bungee-jumping or, conversely, walk down quiet green forest paths and smell the pine needles and listen to the flutter of birds’ wings and bask in shafts of sunlight dancing down through the evergreen towers? Watch the sun set in a pink sky at the beach, absorbed in the inhale and exhale of the tides, lulled by the cry of shorebirds on the breeze?
What are all those things you said you’d do “some day” but “some day” never seems to actually roll around on the calendar? Could there possibly be a better time to get off your butt and do them than the impending end of the world? Come on people, the planet’s hourglass is running out! Tick-tock, tick-tock! Don’t waste the time you have left!
Spend this year thoroughly living your life, wantonly and unapologetically, and if the planet’s lights go out for good on Dec. 21, rejoice, because the last thing you feel won’t be regret. And if it turns out that Dec. 22 rolls around like any other day, you might keep living like every moment of your life matters. Because it does. They’re still finite, whether the world blows up tomorrow or not.
So, thanks, Mayans, you pranksters. We get it. Your cosmic joke’s on us: There no such thing as time, beyond the present moment. So spend it wisely. It’s the only one you actually have.
— Email Debra at email@example.com; read more of her work at www.wintersexpress.com, www.edebra.com and www.ipinion.com