There’s not a single part of me that believes that the world will end in late 2012. But as I watched the movie the other day, in which a few scientists and government officials know about the impending doom but don’t tell the general public, I started to wonder: What would I do if I knew that the world was going to end in 3 years?
(For what it’s worth, I think it’s an even more interesting question if that time limit is smaller, like 1 hour or 1 day or 1 week. But the Mayans give me 3 years.)
The problem with 3 years is that it’s too much time. I’m a procrastinator, so even if I knew for sure that the world was going to end, I probably wouldn’t change much in the present.
I think my long-term goals would certainly change. Because if the world’s going to end, some things just don’t matter any more. For example, it’s a really important dream of mine to have a novel published. But if the world’s going to end, that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. If there’s no one to read the novel, it’s not worth it to me to write.
So what does matter? People matter. Experiences matter. I think personal accomplishments and material things matter a lot less. I think if the world were going to end in 2012, a lot of people would run that marathon they’ve always wanted to run…but why? Why would you run an arbitrary distance for an accomplishment that no one–including you–will be around to remember in 3 years? I’d rather have fun. I’d rather find ways to love people better than obsess over my time or fitness.
That raises a new question: Do you try to spread the love around, connect with everyone, go out every night, travel the world with multiple friends, or do you really focus on a few people that you truly care about?
For me, I think it would be a combination of the two. I think I’d for the most part focus on those I really care about. But conversely, I think I’d treat strangers a lot different. In general, I’m wary of strangers and their intentions (confession!). I don’t seek them out, I’m not always as welcoming as I could be, and I’d never go to a bar alone just for the chance to meet some new people.
I honestly think that would change. I think if I found out the world was going to end, I’d want to be around people all the time. I’d want to be around life all the time. For me, right now, I find a great deal of life and energy by being alone and working independently on my own projects. And that’s okay. But I think that would change if the world were going to end.
The other day I had an informal meeting with two friends about how we might be able to change the face of publishing on a local level. We sat around drinking beers in their beautiful home, just spitballing ideas and talking about what we can do. I couldn’t have picked a better way for me to spend my evening. Talking about new ideas, big changes, making a difference, being entrepreneurial, taking action. If the world were going to end, oddly enough, I’d want to have a lot more discussions like that about what we would do if the world weren’t going to end. I can’t explain it, but I felt on top of the world after that conversation, and I feel like if you don’t have the constraint of time (because time wouldn’t exist in 3 years), you can talk about anything and everything deep into the night and not even look at the clock.
I think I’d travel the world a little bit, but I think my heart would lead me to the places I already love more than to the places I’ve thought about visiting. I’d want to kiss a lot more women, even just once, just to feel that one-of-a-kind sensation a million times. And maybe I’d find a woman that I’d want to kiss more than the rest. I don’t know. But even given a limited amount of time, I’d be open to that.
I’ll have to keep thinking about this, and I’ll keep writing more if you all post some thoughts in the comments below. What would you do?
Also see fellow blogger Lauren’s post today on a similar subject–I haven’t read it yet because of the similar topics of our entries, but I’m looking forward to it.