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What I’d Do If 2012 Were Real

November 27, 2009

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.

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28 Comments leave one →
  1. Dionne permalink
    November 27, 2009 11:37 am

    Thank you for your poignant revelation. I would agree that I would do all those same things myself and would actually tell more people how much I care about them and how much they’ve impacted me in my life.

    I especially love the line you wrote, “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.” My comment to you on that is “time” truly is not a constraint as much as you think it is. Have those 3+ hour conversations with people whenever. Those types of interactions and conversation do, in fact, feed the soul and do give you the feeling of “being on top of the world”. Those moments can still be had more often than you think.

    Such is the stuff of life….

  2. November 27, 2009 2:33 pm

    Thanks for the comment. I second the idea of telling people how much I care about them–I think it would become a much more natural, everyday type of thing to do if our time here were limited.

    You have a good point that those conversations can be had whenever…there’s nothing in the way of doing so. It’s just a matter of letting go so they can happen. I’m learning…

    • Dionne permalink
      November 27, 2009 8:20 pm

      Yes, you are learning and I believe you have made great strides already. Keep up the good work! We are all just a “work in progress”. I’m still learning too. Me and God had a nice chat the other day that I will do my best to learn lessons the first time around if he promises to make sure it doesn’t always hurt so much to learn…lol.

  3. Teddy T. Graham permalink
    November 27, 2009 5:36 pm

    I’m pretty much banking on the fact that the world will end in 2012. Then I won’t have to get a job when I graduate. They say college is the best four years of your life.. I might as well end it there if it isn’t going to get any better

    and i have a bullshit major

    • November 27, 2009 5:40 pm

      Honestly, I think post-collegiate life is much better. Think about it. Sure, when you come home from class, your friends are all right there in your dorm or your suite. But you have homework to do. In real life, when you come home from work, you’re done. You can do whatever you want. Plus, during the day when you’re slaving away, you’re getting paid to do that instead of paying somebody else.

      I’d take work life over school life any day.

    • Dionne permalink
      November 27, 2009 8:21 pm

      And when you say you have a “bullshit major”, what major are you referring to (please don’t say psychology)?

      • Dionne permalink
        November 27, 2009 8:22 pm

        Sorry, my last comment was for Teddy Graham.

        • Teddy T. Graham permalink
          November 28, 2009 12:07 am

          I was referring to psychology. I’m a psych and spanish double major (concentration in cross cultural studies) with a minor in cultural anthropology. I love the classes but I have no idea what I’m going to do with my degree. I feel like psych is a luxury major. Maybe this is because I was supposed to be a doctor and I feel like psych isn’t good enough. And I don’t want to go to grad school but I have completely torpedoed myself into it because what is a psych major going to do without a PhD or MD?

          • Dionne permalink
            November 28, 2009 2:11 am

            Well I received my BA in psych and I was able to find a job in my field (albeit with poor pay) that gave me the experience I needed to catapult me to the next “run” in the career ladder. I also have my MA in counseling. Since you want to do med school you can have a 4yr degree in anything. Med school want students that are well rounded and don’t necessarily have a 4yr degree in Bio or Chem. I think you are on the right track. Make sure you are volunteering to do independent study with professors and are volunteering with different organizations/programs in your field to boost your career portfolio. If you don’t have one of those then meet with your career services advisor.

            Whoa! I just teleported myself back to my job…sorry…put on my academic advisor hat for a sec. Anyways, I hope that helped.

            • Dionne permalink
              November 28, 2009 2:14 am

              I meant to say “rung” and not “run” in my last post….lol!

  4. Frosty T Snowman permalink
    November 27, 2009 5:41 pm

    Wow. Not that I would expect a teddy graham to have much insight or logic, but hoping the world will end in 2012 is only going to ensure that it’s not. STOP JINXING IT!

    gosh.

  5. Teddy T. Graham permalink
    November 27, 2009 5:42 pm

    Shut up, carrot nose.

  6. Frosty T Snowman permalink
    November 27, 2009 5:43 pm

    if i were standing next to you, i would bite your head off and drown you in milk. freak.

    • November 27, 2009 5:45 pm

      Given that both of your comments are coming from the same IP address, I’d guess that you actually are standing next to each other and therefore can proceed with the biting/drowning.

  7. Frosty T Snowman permalink
    November 27, 2009 5:49 pm

    done.

    snowmen reign supreme over cracker/cookie thingys.

  8. Colleen permalink
    November 29, 2009 12:57 am

    Dionne and Jamey – I completely agree with your comments about telling people how much they mean to you and how much of an impact they have made in your life. I think it’s so important to tell our friends and families how important they are to us, and not just on special occasions and holidays, but every other day of the year as well. This really hit home with me because of my dad. My dad was diagnosed with cancer three years ago and was initially given 3 months to live – and I knew that there was so much more I wanted to say to him and so many more things I wanted to do with him, but there wasn’t going to be enough time. It was at that point that my life did a complete 180 – and I realized I had to make every minute of every day count, and let my dad know how important he was to me and how much of a difference he had made in my life. After his initial diagnosis of 3 months to live, my mom and I were blessed to actually have 19 more months with my dad – and I can honestly say that I have absolutely no regrets, because I made it a priority to spend as much time as possible with him and tell him how much he meant to me every single day.

    This experience is what led me to realize that we all need to live each day to the fullest and tell the ones we love how much they mean to us. I’m so much more aware now of everything and everyone I have to be thankful for in my life. My friends and family (especially my mom) mean the absolute world to me, so I really make it a point to tell them and show them how much I love and care about them. I think that going through an experience like this has given me a whole new perspective and outlook on life, and has taught me who and what truly matters.

    • Dionne permalink
      November 29, 2009 1:11 am

      Thank you Colleen for sharing that amazing story. You were lucky to have those extra 19 months with your dad. My father also passed away a couple of years ago and I did not get a chance to say good-bye, but I am grateful that when he and I did spend time together in those last few years (little did I know that I would have so little time with him) I made a point to let him know that I loved him despite all the hurt and problems we had in the past. My brother was not so lucky. He had not seen my dad for 6yrs prior to my father passing. At the funeral I was reminded how fleeting life.

      Thank you again for sharing your experiences.

    • November 30, 2009 12:18 am

      Colleen and Dionne–Thank you for sharing, and thank you for reminding us all how important it is to let our loved ones know that we love them. And find ways to show them, not just tell them, by sharing time and experiences with them while we still have time.

  9. Nelsy permalink
    November 30, 2009 12:03 am

    These comments made me think. well, some of them. I’m estranged from my father and for the most part, I’m fine with it. But I guess I always wondered what would happen if he died suddenly. Would I regret not talking to him for these past few years? I guess I won’t ever know unless it happens.
    I think “living life to the fullest” is much easier said than done. I’m an impulsive, free-spirited kind of person and I’m definitely not satisfied all the time.

    • November 30, 2009 12:14 am

      Your last paragraph is really interesting, that an impulsive, free-spirited person may lack satisfaction in life. I’m glad you said that. Many things satisfy me, but I’m neither impulsive nor free spirited. I’m trying to learn and explore the positive sides of those traits, but I’m glad you pointed out that being on one end of the spectrum doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re completely satisfied.

    • Dionne permalink
      November 30, 2009 3:10 pm

      Nelsey,

      I was estranged from my father for 2yrs before he started to get his life in order and finally made attempts to make amends for what he put my family through. If he had not tried to show that he wanted to change I might not have ever seen him again before he died. I hope your father or you get the opportunity to make amends (if its meant to be) before either one of you leaves this earth.

      Wishing you the best:)

      • Colleen permalink
        November 30, 2009 4:31 pm

        Dionne and Nelsy – thanks for sharing your stories as well. Nelsy, I wish you the best for whichever direction you go. I understand where you’re coming from b/c there are some issues with relatives within my own extended family, too. We just have to do whatever works for us. Dionne, I’m glad that you got a chance to reconcile with your dad and spend time with him, especially not knowing how much time you actually had left with him. Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like NOT knowing that my dad was going to pass away, and what I’d do if it just happened suddenly. On one hand, there may not have been so much pain and suffering involved (both for him, and for my mom and me) which was awful to see and go through. It’s the most dreadful thing in the world to see your loved one suffering and to be given a time limit on how much time you have left with him. On the other hand, if I hadn’t been forced into the position of knowing how much time we had left, I probably would have kept taking things for granted and thinking that life just keeps going and going – and maybe I wouldn’t have realized or fully appreciated the people in my life and life itself during those 19 months, and even now. Anyway, that’s just my experience, so thanks for reflecting on it with me and sharing your own experiences, too. 🙂

  10. Nelsy permalink
    November 30, 2009 1:25 am

    yeah, sometimes i wish i didn’t have such an impulsive personality. i’m almost always restless or bored. I’m guessing someone like you likes routine and having plans. I would never actually want to change the way I am, but I think it would be nice to be a little more forward thinking. I feel like then, I wouldn’t always have to satisfy my immediate emotions.

    • November 30, 2009 11:08 am

      You’re the exact opposite of me :). I’m never restless or bored, but I do procrastinate, leaving me dissatisfied at times. I’m always doing things to satisfy future emotions, but that means that present distractions get in the way.

    • Dionne permalink
      November 30, 2009 3:20 pm

      I hear ya’! I have a messy room and home office to prove that procrastination is my friend…lol…or enemy…whichever.

  11. Red permalink
    December 1, 2009 1:53 pm

    “Only in Silence the word. Only in Dark the Light. Only in Dying.” Life. Ok, it’s a cheap quote from a 60s novel, but it holds truth. You can’t live EVERY moment to it’s fullest. You will loose perspective on life itself. I think it is BECAUSE we don’t see many of those we love very frequently that the moments we share together are so valuable. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

    I am seeing this with my family as well. Both of my mother’s parents turn 79 this year. They are very mentally present, but my grandfather is not as physically capable as he used to be. I see them almost every week, and while I know that we probably don’t have a whole lot of time left together, it’s business as usual. It’s not teary, talk about our dreams. It’s why the government is messed up, or dinner was good, or what happened at work.

    Also, not to be the complete killjoy here, but many of the things that people want to experience/do before with themselves before it’s too late require some kind of sacrafice, usually financial. If you stop working to Carpe Diem, you can only Carpe so much for so long before your means outweigh desires.

  12. Dionne permalink
    December 1, 2009 10:54 pm

    I’m not a “carpe diem” type person either. For me, the balance needs to lie in the middle somewhere – between living life to the fullest and enjoying the simple things without haste.

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