I think I was seven years old the first time I heard about the end of the world. Yup, the End of the World, as in doomsday, the apocalypse, the last day, the final judgement, whatever you want to call it. According to the Mayans, the world as we know it will come to an end on 21st December 2012, a date that seemed forever away when I was a kid. So I tried pushing this idea to the back of my mind, choosing not to worry about it but secretly expectant for it, knowing I’d eventually have to face the possibility of this happening during my lifetime.
Well, that time has come, although the veracity of this prophecy is obviously a hotly debated topic. But with only a few weeks left before the prophesied implosion of our planet, I find myself highly optimistic, hoping the Mayans didn’t simply run out of space on their calendar.
I know, I know it sounds horrible—who would wish for the end of the world? I mean, sure, it would probably be easier if the world didn’t end this December, but just think; how cool would it be to witness something humanity has always feared and speculated about?
Fuelling my life-long obsession with this one-off event, I’m constantly on the watch for new apocalyptic movies and putting myself in all the different scenarios, thinking: How would I cope under these circumstances? Would I think to do that? Where would I go? Who would I meet, if anyone? Would I survive?
Thoughts of the end run away with my mind to the ruins of a grey, destroyed planet. And despite what you might be thinking (about me being a fatalist or something of the sort) I’ve always had a survivalist mentality: survival of the fittest rules the world, especially in the post-apocalyptic planet I envision living in before the end of this year. (OK, maybe I’m just a bit fatalist). And although I’ve never really pictured myself being very old in that world, I’ve never imagined not surviving, either. Actually dying when the world starts to crumble has simply never been an option, not even in my imagination. So I try to prepare myself mentally and psychologically, in hopes that I will be emotionally prepared to fight for my life when the time comes.
But it’s precisely that—the fighting for my life part—that’s been making me think about our time on this planet lately. (Of course, the imminent and impending arrival of this day of doom hasn’t helped in easing my wild imagination, either.) So I’ve been wondering, would I really fight for my life? Do I want to? Would it be so terrible if I was one of the weak who died? The reality is, it wouldn’t be: who’d notice in the midst of all that chaos? Besides, I’d be free of my body, of the overwhelming need to accomplish, of the emptiness I sometimes feel, endlessly fuelled by my relentless need to live life to the fullest before I cease to exist. And once time stops existing, the pressure would be off as far using it wisely. You survived the end of the world! What could possibly be left on your bucket list?
When I realised it wouldn’t be a terrible thing if I died when the world did, I also realised that given the chance, I would fight for my life, I would do everything I could to survive, even if it ended up being less than enough. Because what would make a better story than surviving the end of the world? What could be more exciting than starting a new life in a new world? True, it would be a world covered in the ashes and remnants of what our society used to be (but what’s so great about our society anyways?) but it would also be a world free of preconceptions and rules: no more “musts” or “have to’s”.
Once again, I start to fantasise about living in a world of survival, of re-birth; a world that would give me the chance to start over and and to live in a place completely removed from what I have known thus far; I could just be, roaming free, walking the earth, unworried about money and time. My worries would consist of finding food and shelter—surviving—just as it should be. In that world, there would be no one forcing anyone else to live their life according to society’s standards because there’d be no society left, meaning we’d all be free agents, free of standards and hypocrisy. Plus, imagine the photos I could take!
So yes, I dream about the end of the world and sometimes even wish for it fervently, because the world I live in doesn’t satisfy me, it doesn’t fulfil or empower me. Yes, it’s a beautiful planet we live in, but we’ve accomplished to destroy to from the inside out and I’m not sure I want to see what Earth will look like in twenty years.
It’s possible that what I so desperately want isn’t a conclusive end to life, but a rebirth of myself, a chance to invent and excel at a whole new concept of what it means to be me. Maybe I just need to find a way to do this in our current world and forgo my daydreams of the apocalypse. Many people would say the world’s not so bad. And sure, sometimes that feels true. But most days it doesn’t, and where’s the fun in living in a world intent on its self-destruction?
Some days, the end of the world feels like the best chance for a new beginning, not just for me or humanity, but for the planet itself: a chance for nature to take back what we’ve so selfishly disrupted. And I suppose I will most likely be disappointed when December 22nd rolls around and life continues as it has for centuries and centuries, and I’ll find myself facing the meek reality of our planet and looking for a way to reinvent myself in this world, sans le fin.
Then again, the Mayans have been wrong about little else. Are you ready?