Unless you’ve been living under a rock (in some circumstances I commend you if you have), you’re well aware of the speculation that the world would end on December 21st, 2012 in accordance with the end of the Mayan calendar. But as we all know, the Mayans were wrong and here we are well past the 21st with our beautiful blue and green little planet still ticking away. Regardless of how outlandish the apocalyptic claims were, we all had to confront the possibility that it may very well be the end.
Each person handles a “what if” question like that a little differently. Some are quick to dismiss it and that’s the end of the discussion. Others spend days, weeks, or even months worrying about it. Others, myself included, just tried to forget that it ever became a topic of discussion. However, it was still there and I found myself asking, “If this really was going to be the end, would I be content with what I had spent my life doing?” Many, if not most, people find the answer to that question in their spirituality. “I’ve done my best to show other people I care.” or “I’ve served God with all of my heart.” Those are all common answers for people, but whether you’re spiritual or not, there’s answer to that question.
I’ve always had a tendency to confront mortal questions by focusing on accomplishments. I realize that not everyone is like that, but for me, what I’ve done is my measuring stick. I look back on 2012 and things like Skate Across Indiana immediately come to mind. However, I can’t say that I’m all that exuberant about what I’ve done, mostly because there’s still much more that I want to do. For me, that’s the trouble with being confronted by a mortal question. In a world this size, there’s always more to do. And it doesn’t matter how old or young you are; how weak or strong you are; there’s always something else. Perhaps maturity is learning how to be content with what you’ve spent your time doing. That’s not to say that contentment with wasting time is okay, but it’s more about the importance of being realistic.
Looking forward 2013 will probably be more like 2012 than it is different. However, it doesn’t need to lack a unique luster or sense of accomplishment. By adding in a better understanding of contentment and by living with intentionality, mortal questions at the end of the year will be a little easier to swallow. Is it any coincidence that people started wondering about the end of the world at the end of the year? Of course not, the end of the year will always mark a period of transition. That’s something to be excited about, not something to fret over.