Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The End is Near...?

The world is supposed to end in a few days -- On Friday, 12-21-12. Apparently the Mayan calendar (which has accurately predicted, down to the minute, every celestial event, every lunar and solar eclipse that has ever occurred over the past several millennia) marks December 21st 2012 as the end of days. This "long count" calendar spans 5000 years and just happens to end this Friday. Some would argue that since the Mayans didn't even seem to foresee their own end coming, anything they said should be taken with a grain of salt! Others believe that since they've been right about everything else, it must really be the end. Still others suggest that it is not the end, as in an Apocalypse, but just the end of an age or an era. It is the dawn of a new era, perhaps an evolution in human consciousness. That's my hope anyway. I really don't think that all life is suddenly going to end, that a giant meteor or some other extinction level event is coming to wipe us all out. At least I hope not!
How is it supposed to end? There are many theories out there -- asteroids, solar flares, polar shifts, fires, floods, natural disasters, chemical or biological warfare, economic collapse, depletion of resources, an epidemic. Aliens. Zombies. The movies have always had a field day with the idea, preying on our primal fears. They are creepy because on some level we think "What if?" There was a show on the other day that was investigating whether the zombie idea could happen. Apparently if the rabies virus were to mutate (as many other animal diseases have mutated and transferred to humans) then people could become brain-damaged, violent savages. A comforting thought. It also touched on how some people are hypnotized to become like mindless zombies -- such as the followers of Jim Jones who were all persuaded to commit mass suicide. The scary thing is that a crackpot with power can do a lot of damage (just look at Hitler.) Or aliens may be coming to claim the planet. To me the scariest scenarios are the ones that touch on resource depletion. If the world did run out of water or oil for example then we would be screwed. Especially without water. The Mad Max scenario wouldn't be too far-fetched if that were the case. Fighting over limited resources would get ugly. Then there's the "bee" idea as well -- I remember hearing a quote "If the bee disappears, mankind has four years." Without pollination there would be no crops, no food. Eventually we'd all starve. More disturbing is the fact that the bee population has diminished significantly and inexplicably. Someone suggested it might be the cellphones that are killing them. A fragile economy, random acts of violence, natural disasters -- there certainly is enough in the news to worry about and it may seem like the end of the world sometimes.
While everyone may wonder "What if" to some degree, some people carry it to insane lengths. There are a slew of "Doomsday Preppers" (it's actually a TV show. I caught a few moments of it the other day while flipping channels) who are stockpiling supplies and an arsenal of weapons for the coming Armaggedon. I have since learned that Nancy Lanza (mother of the killer in the Connecticut school shooting) was actually preparing for doomsday when she purchased her guns. She believed there may be an economic collapse and that she would need to defend herself against violent hordes in a kill or be killed post-Apocalyptic world. Ironically and tragically, the weapons that were supposed to protect her life actually ended it. If only she had realized how fragile her son was and not inadvertently provided him with the means to end not only her life and his own but the lives of 26 innocent people including children. Last Friday was certainly the end of the world for many in Newtown. As I said in my last post, GUNS ARE FOR COWARDS. If no one had them, no one would need them. I wish they didn't even exist. I hear that gunmakers' stocks are plummeting since the Sandy Hook massacre. Good. They should all go out of business. They are profiting from death. Guns are anti-life. The excuse that you have them for self-defense is hogwash. More often than not they end up in the wrong hands and innocent lives are lost.

Some would say that the strange events of the last couple of years have been leading up to a final catastrophic event, that they serve as signs that the end is coming. Granted there have been a lot of tragedies and natural disasters but there have always been tragedies and disasters throughout history. Someone is always saying the world is going to end and it's still here. Just out of curiosity, I checked NASA's website to see if there were any massive asteroids heading our way. There are not. (Mind you, the doomsayers would claim this is because the powers that be don't want to create a panic so they are hiding the truth from the masses.)

I don't believe the world is going to end in a few days. For one thing, I have a renewal sticker on my license plate that doesn't expire until 2013. More importantly I have a new baby girl that I have to see grow up (mind you, anyone who knew me through the years and how dead set I was against having kids would say that my being a Mom in itself is the seventh sign of the Apocalypse!) It's exciting watching her grow. At four months now she can sit for a few seconds on her own and can even stand for a couple of seconds (though I'm ready to catch her when she wobbles). She's getting more talkative with squeals, screams and raspberries. She has her hungry whine down to a science and now she's started making a new "H" sound. I'm trying to get her to say "Hi!" I mimick her breathy "H" and then make a long "i" sound hoping she'll take the cue. She just smiles at me like, "Come on Mom, get real! I'm 4 months old!!"

I wonder what the doomsayers are doing right about now? Are they stocking bomb shelters, driving to the wilderness, heading for the hills? You don't hear much about it, other than when you catch a documentary on the subject on the learning channel. It's always a small group, the lunatic fringe that catches the Apocalypse fever. Some people just seem to need to jump to the worst possible conclusion. Most of us seem to be carrying on as though nothing is wrong. I see people driving, walking, shopping, going to the drive-thru at McD's. No one seems panicked. When they mention the 21st it's with a light heart, as though it's all a big joke. As I mentioned in a previous post, Old Navy even had an ad campaign called "Cheermageddon!" with a picture of an asteroid. I don't think the majority take the Mayan prediction seriously at all. Most people are preparing for Christmas. The 21st is just a blip on the radar.

My Mom was a little worried (it's what she does!) What if there is something to this whole 12-21-12 thing? She wanted to make sure I would be with her on the 21st so we'd be together if it was the end of the world. I sarcastically suggested that I don't know if it's a good idea to drive that day. The highway may be packed with frantic commuters. Besides I heard that the actual end time is midnight on December 21st. So I'll count down to midnight and if we're still here, we should be good to go! It reminds me of counting down the seconds to Y2K (when all the computers were supposed to blow up because of the year 2000. So stupid!) only to have nothing happen. It was so anti-climactic. I was at a party with my boyfriend at the time. We were kind of hoping the power would go out or something. That would have been cool at least. Just a little something to give us a thrill. Instead, after all the build-up and fear, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAPPENED! My Mom had been a little nervous about the whole thing and had stockpiled bottled water and canned goods just in case. I'm not sure why the year rolling over to 2000 would suddenly diminish the water supply but who knows?

Some people seem to want to create a panic. I know that some crackpot last year was saying the world was going to end in May 2011 and that everyone else had it wrong. He was so certain. My Mom was worried about it (she really shouldn't watch the news or read the papers they just feed her worst fears!) and didn't want me to go to Florida (Armaggedon was supposed to take place, according to this one guy, during my road trip to Daytona Beach with my boyfriend at the time.) I figured if the world was going to end then why not go out with a bang and have the adventure of my life driving south in a convertible with the man of my dreams (who turned out to be a nightmare, but everyone has their flaws!) As it turned out, nothing happened at all. I wonder how these people react when they're expecting and prepared for the end and it doesn't happen. Are they relieved, ecstatic, grateful? Or do they feel confused and stupid? Most likely they will say that the Apocalypse is coming at some later date. Some people just love to perpetuate the fear. Some are even profiting from it (there are businesses selling Apocalypse supplies such as gas masks, bomb shelters, underground condos, etc -- I guess they'll be out of business after Friday!) Only a minority believe Friday is the end. The majority don't seem too concerned or convinced.

All I can say is that the world better not end. There is far too much to live for. Michelle just started giggling. I even managed to catch her on video (see the link). I have to hear her say her first words, take her first steps, to watch her graduate from university. It can't end now. It's just getting started. She has so many milestones to go through. So much to learn and discover. So many adventures. The world can't end on the 21st. What about Christmas?  I can't miss Michelle's first Christmas!

One of the songs I like to sing to Michelle (it often takes A LOT of lullabies to get her to sleep!) is the spider's song from the animated film "Charlotte's Web" -- "How very special are we, for just a moment to be part of life's eternal rhyme. How very special are we to have in our family tree Mother Earth and Father Time..." The world has been around a long time. It changes and evolves. We are part of a story that began millions of years ago and hopefully will continue millions of years after we're gone. It is a gift to be alive, to be on this beautiful planet, however long that happens to be.

The truth is, as the Bible says, that we don't actually know the day or the hour when the end will come. The important thing is to make the most of your time while you are here. Enjoy yourself. Live. Laugh. Love. Learn. Live each day as if it's your last, as the cliche goes. I am so grateful to have Michelle. She was the biggest surprise and the best gift of my entire life. I love her so much. Each day with her is a blessing (yes even the difficult days!) I am looking forward to many more days to come.

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