Apparently, the world is going to end on Saturday. I was under the impression the apocalypse was in 2012, but apparently I haven’t been keeping up with the rapture news. I promise to be better next time, if there is one.
I didn’t believe in Y2Y when it didn’t happen and I don’t give much credit to the end of the world as we know it this go around, either. But as my group of friends discussed happily ever over, my mind wandered to thoughts of what I would do this week if I was actually promised, without reasonable doubt and based on scientific theory with a promise from the heavens that lights would be shut off in six days.
I’d like to think I live my life pretty openly, doing and enjoying the things I crave. I don’t really limit myself too awful much and definitely not as much as I used to. If I want a mini carrot cake cupcake as a snack, I walk to seventh avenue and buy one. If I don’t really feel like running because I didn’t get as much sleep as I would have preferred, I give the pavement a rest. If I’m single and he’s cute, I’ll kiss on the first date if the mood strikes me. If I’m given an opportunity I doubt I’ll find again, I take up the offer and push my savings account to make it happen. If I’m starting to fall in love with someone, if they’re getting under my skin, I may hesitate, but I breathe, gather myself, and let my heart flow in the direction it desires. If I see a chance that needs taking, I take it; and if there’s road that’s less traveled, I’ll go where there are no signs and make my own route.
I wouldn’t say I’m fearless or brave but I have confidence in myself, and especially in my capabilities to adapt to new situations and tough times. Even more so, at this time in my life, I’m growing better at listening to my own needs and following my inhibitions instead of my doubts.
But if the world really did end – what would it remember about me?
It’d have this blog, with ramblings about things that matter and things that don’t. It’d have a handful of bylines from various publications, online and elsewhere. It’d have my membership in a sorority, my degree from a university on top of a mountain, a few addresses in New York, employment at a magazine, and the efforts I’ve made as a volunteer for a decade. Relationships and people aside, my living resume of things I’ve developed, created, cultivated, and published doesn’t seem as long and extensive as I once imagined.
Sure, if the world ended, I would die at a young age and perhaps the world wouldn’t expect me to accomplish great feats or have great loves by this time in my life – but it isn’t success and men I’m concerned with. It’s more about wasting gifts.
I believe we all are blessed with a gift we can use to help improve the status quo of the world. To shake it up, if you will. We’re given a talent that others do not have or one that doesn’t come to them as easily as it comes to us. And with this special quality, we’re supposed to shed its light to the populations we can help. Those who are affected the most by us; those who need us the most.
And if we’re not using that skill to better the world, making a sincere effort for mankind, aren’t we wasting it?
I do a lot of things well and with ease, but the only true gift I’d ever claim is writing. It is as much a part of me as my own hands, without the ability to tap the keys or string together words, I’d feel lost and built up with emotions I badly needed to express. Not everything I write is public and not everything is meant for me – but how often do I truly write about issues that will help others?
Or am I being too hard on myself? Am I thinking in terms of black and white, survival or catastrophe? Do I think a New York Times byline about suffrage or abuse affects more people than a freelance post for a semi-well-known women’s e-zine? Yeah, I do and I’m accurate to think it reaches more people, but inaccurate to think I can measure its impact.
That’s the thing about writing – you put it out and you never quite know how far it got or what you did by carefully and strategically putting sentences together. If the world ends, I may have not reached my dream job, picked up my own book at a bookstore, or been interviewed as a voice for women – but I’m making an effort. I’m giving what I have to give, regardless if one person reads or 10,000.
Because all we can do is make our own little contributions to the world and hope that as long as the globe balances on its axis someone, somewhere, somehow, is benefiting from our work. And if you’re not giving, you have time to start. Even if it may be just a few more days.