On the Cusp of the End of the World

I don’t consider it my fault that I’ve been spending some time thinking about the end of the world.  I really have to hand it to those Mayans; they knew how to build suspense.  I should probably take a lesson from them in a story or two.

Everyone seems to be focused on the Mayan calendar ending signifying the end of the world by whatever means the Higher Powers deemed fitting: meteors, the resurgence of the dinosaurs, a Kardashian temper tantrum, whatever.  It’s all been doom and gloom, but that’s sort of what we thrive on, isn’t it?

I heard an alternate interpretation a few days ago from a colleague of mine who had recently gone to Chitzeniza in Mexico to visit the Mayan temple there.  Someone who professed to be a Mayan (I have serious doubts, too, but just go with it) said, “You people have it all wrong. It’s not about the end.  It’s about a new beginning.”

Normally I would say that the random musings of a Mayan-impostor tour guide in Mexico don’t affect me, but this one made me think.  We – humans, that is – have both an outrageously high and a laughably small amount of power when it comes to shaping the world we live in.  We can literally alter the ecosystem’s balance, change the atmospheric makeup of the planet, build wonders and terrors with equal ease.  Yet, when mother nature decides it’s time for us to get a spanking, we walk away with one collective red ass.  Really, really red – like Grandma’s wooden spoon kind of red.

The capacity and limitations of our power aside, there is no doubt that we have a mixed track record.  Our world, today and in all the years that have gone before this one, is a place of many intricate problems.  Sometimes it feels like there just isn’t much hope left.  But what if the Mayans had the right idea?  What if today we could start a new beginning?  There’s a chance, albeit a small one, that we’ve all unconsciously taken our first step into a brighter future. 

I like that idea.  But more than I like that concept, I like the idea that the “new beginning” doesn’t have to be on the macro scale at all.  I can start a new beginning at any time I want just by exercising the small amount of control I do have over my environment.  Sometimes that can mean letting that control go.  Sometimes that can mean being just a little kinder, forgiving someone a little easier, laughing a little harder.  Stress is a state of mind – this is my new motto – and I can resolve today to be a sponge instead of a cinder block.  Think about that metaphor for a second and get back to me; by that time I might understand what I’ve written (I’m winging it here, folks).

So, even if the sky does turn red in a couple of hours and your next dinner guest is a million-pound globule of flaming asteroid, you still have the time between now and then to make a new beginning.   Take the opportunity, and thank the Mayans for giving you the inspiration.

That’s all I have to say about that.  Have a great apocalypse everyone. 

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  1. I am Mexican, and FYI: The Mayans are not dead, their decendants still practice their culture and their language in Mexico. Not every tribe lost it’s culture, and the calendar was meant to signify the cycles, most notably, the cycle of a new era which dawned upon us where the world shall change. No one can predict the end of our existence.

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