SEA Games

The end of the world as we know it

Chinie Diaz
Unpleasant as they may be, end-of-the-world scares always serve as chilling but necessary reminders of our own mortality

People have been discussing the supposed end of the world on Dec 21, 2012 for ages, but I’ve never really put much stock into the prediction. I mean, really, why panic just because the Mayan calendar ends on that date?

Seriously, have you SEEN the Mayan Calendar??? It looks pretty freaking hard to make! It only makes sense that at some point the carvers said, “This is it, I’m done. Screw the rest. Sorry, people of the future.”

Aside from that, I recently read an article about how the ‘Mayan Apocalypse’ prophecy arose out of a magic mushroom trip – which just made the doomsday threat doubly dubious.

And when my sister-in-law showed me a funny “faux-cumentary” making the rounds on the Internet about how Nostradamus predicted that Psy would signal the end of the world, that was it for me. 

I’m convinced that all this December 21 doomsday talk is just a bunch of baloney.

I think anyone with common sense will confirm this, but if you don’t believe us, you can always turn to NASA to soothe your anxiety.

The thing is, I’m the type of person who likes to be prepared, and I think it’s only human nature to always ask, “What if?” – so despite my skepticism, I’ll probably still be going to confession (that’s long overdue anyway) and thinking about the things I should do in case the world does end on Friday. You know – just in case. 🙂

When I really think about it, I’m actually grateful for all these dire doomsday predictions. Unpleasant as they may be, end-of-the-world scares always serve as chilling but necessary reminders of our own mortality.

We react to them in the same way we do when we hear about senseless tragedies, or any sudden demise, or whenever we escape a bad accident.

We remember that life is short, that time is fleeting, and that the end – maybe not of the entire world, but just our own – could come at any time. And it’s a good wake-up call to get our lives in order and make some changes before it’s too late.   

Since 2013 is just around the corner, this particular scare is a timely opportunity to make some resolutions to turn the life we have left into something we can leave behind without regrets.

The problem is, these reminders and wake-up calls tend to affect us for a limited time only, after which life just goes back to business as usual. I’m sure I’m not the only one who makes determined resolutions at the start of each year, only to find myself midway through December, having achieved none of them.

So how do we get our resolutions to stick?  Here are a few suggestions that might prove helpful:

  • Baby steps! Stagger your goals. We often fail at resolutions simply because we aim too high, or try to make too many changes at once. Resolve to make just ONE change at a time, and break it into clear, doable, deadline-bound bites. When you’re done with one, reward yourself and move on to the next.
  • Shout it out. Make your resolution public. This should be easy enough to accomplish in the age of social media. Tell your friends and family, put it out there on your blog, and make an announcement on Facebook, Twitter or whatever else you use. Not only will you receive much-needed support, you’ll also be more likely to follow through when you know people are watching.
  • Play offense, not defense. Act, don’t react. Social scientists have found that willpower is actually a real (but finite) form of mental energy, which is depleted every time we have to exercise self-control. Interestingly, the people with the most willpower are those who don’t have to use self-control as often. 

So if you want to succeed at making a change in your life, plan ahead instead of passively reacting to temptations. You probably already know what the obstacles are to achieving your particular goals. Make an action plan to eliminate or avoid them BEFORE they can veer you off course. Follow it, and you’ll find it much easier to move forward.

Lastly, look for something to remind yourself that keeping life at a standstill is not an option. Put it somewhere strategic so you’ll see it on a regular basis. For me, it’s this funny tweet I found on 12/12/12: 

It made me laugh, but it also made me think. It’s true. Every day we live is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Every hour we waste is an hour we’ll never get back.  

So let’s stop wasting time and counting on a future that may or may not come. The world as we know it could end at any time. Let’s make the most of it while it’s here. –