The Mayans Were Right About the End of the World

Today, the world ends. But let’s be honest: we saw it coming. We didn’t need the Mayans to tell us.

Mayan Calendar
Photo credit: leanderthal (Creative Commons)

First, 90 year-old fundamentalist Harold Camping told us Jesus was coming back and convinced people to buy billboards to warn their neighbors about the impending Apocalypse. When that didn’t happen, he asked for a rain check. Eventually, he admitted his math must’ve been a little “off.”

Then Obama was re-elected (which felt like the end of the world for Republicans). Whether you live in the U.S. or not, you probably heard someone on Nov. 7 proclaiming gloom and doom via Facebook.

After that, Twinkies became extinct, which was really scary. Fear and paranoia drove my wife and me to the store to stockpile a few boxes. Good thing, too, because we’re able to eat like royalty before the meteor crashes into Earth.

Why this matters

Of course, I kid. But what if the world was ending? How would you live differently today?

You’d probably hug your family a little tighter, chew your food a little slower, let your wandering eyes linger a little longer as you glanced out the window — soaking it all in.

Our world is a busy one, full of obligations and deadlines. And if we’re not careful, we can rush through it all without paying attention.

Sometimes, we need a little jolt to shock us back into being present to the moment.

The Advent of the Apocalypse

I’m writing this four days before Christmas. As a child, I couldn’t wait for December 25 to arrive. But as an adult, I’m learning to live more in the anticipation — the seasons of waiting leading up to the Big Moment. Some traditions call this Advent: a time of waiting, not of arrival.

I’ve realized life — real, abundant life — is not the day you open your presents. It’s everything leading up to it.

The world is ending. It’s all ending, every day. We just don’t want to admit it. So we create buzz around bizarre predictions and events that distract us from what’s right in front of us: the opportunity to live.

The irony is we’re so worried about life ending that we neglect living. [Tweet that]

But what if we could live every day as if it was our last? Without hype or fear or paranoia. Just with an appreciation for the gift of life itself. Wouldn’t that be something?

The end is here

What’s holding you back from doing this today? And what, pray tell, has you convinced that today isn’t your last day on earth? As recent news reminds us, none of us knows when tragedy may strike. So let’s live like we mean it.

  • If you’ve been telling yourself you’re going to write a book, start writing it — today.
  • If you’ve been saying it’s time to quit your job, quit — today.
  • If you’ve been wanting to spend more time with your family, do it — today.

An old poet once prayed, “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Our days are numbered. But instead of counting down to Doomsday, fixating on how it’s all going to end, let’s focus on what really matters — what we might lose. All those wonderful moments in between now and then.

Today is the end of the world for someone. Maybe you, maybe me. And whether or not Christmas Day comes, we always have Advent.

In other news, if you want to make 2013 count, we still have a few spots left for the trip to Guatemala I’m leading in February (where you can really meet some Mayans), and I am SO buying this T-shirt.

If today were your last day on earth, what would you do? Share in the comments (if they’re still here!).