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Apocalypse (a year from) Now

Opinion | December 4, 2011

Becky Plante

A little over a year from now, the Mayan calendar will complete its ‘great cycle’ of thirteen, initiating what the Mayans predicted would be the end of days. Other traditions and religious sects have made similarly apocalyptic predictions.

Religious historians and conspiracy theorists have not put forth particularly thorough or plausible predictions for what will happen at the end of next year; however, what their explanations lack, our imaginative minds create. Maybe a fireball will swallow the earth whole. Perhaps a flood, though unoriginal, will do us in. Disease, war and the possibility of Sarah Palin’s presidency are also reasonable guesses. I’m personally hoping it turns out that Michael Bay has been right all along, and that his Transformers films were a misunderstood —albeit dire—warning, instead of just an excuse to blow things up. I’d feel a lot more comfortable with the end of the world if it’s at the hands of giant, sentient machines rather than some stupid, inanimate tidal wave. But that’s just me.

I haven’t had much time to consider the impending Armageddon recently as, like any normal Tufts student, I’ve been buried in the two-month period inaptly referred to as midterms. This got me thinking. I’m going to be pissed if, after three- and-a-half years of hard, diligent work (not to mention the years of internships and key club it took me to get here), I’m going to fall into oblivion with the rest of the world after Chuck Norris roundhouse kicks Atlas in the face and the sheer force knocks us from his shoulders. Seriously. Pissed.

What will we be missing out on? For most of us, this pesky apocalypse will prevent us from graduating. Few of us will be married, have kids, or enjoy the myriad of other life events that a full life would afford us. At this stage in our lives, we don’t have many options.

What can we do? Clearly, irrefutable evidence leaves us with the conclusion that we’re all doomed. Two semesters and summer. That’s what’s left. Sorry to all you will-be-sophomores who will have just found junior housing. Take solace in the fact that your landlord was probably lying about having nipped that mold problem in the bud.

To make the best of our damnation, I have begun developing a f…ahem… “buckit” list, compiling all of the things I’ve just got to try before our untimely demise, schoolwork be damned. Though the whole marriage, children, picket fence thing doesn’t sound half bad, I’m not going to pressure myself into accomplishing all that by this time next year. Here’s what I have so far:

Travel. Luckily my inner conspiracy theorist must have sensed the end and enrolled me in an abroad program in Spain.

Sky dive. Nothing sounds so unintuitive, or epically awesome, as jumping out of a small metal contraption, miles above the ground, with a piece of fabric tied to my back.

Spend an entire day without speaking. Could be cool.

Spend an entire day saying everything that comes to mind. Probably wouldn’t be cool. Other people will not enjoy that. Sorry.

Focus on getting better at a completely useless activity. Rolling a pen through my fingers is topping the list. Flipping a top hat onto my head is also a priority.

Attend every apocalypse-themed party and tell the party’s hosts that I predicted their party a year before in the Observer.

Win an Olympic medal in gymnastics. London 2012 is coming up and my floor routine is off the chain. I’m not holding my breath on this one. There are so many politics in these things.  I’ll settle for a bronze if I have to.

This is where my list ends for the time being. I’ll hopefully add to it before some guy wakes up from his dream and we cease to exist.

As far as reality is concerned: fine. We might not die. The apocalypse was scheduled for last May, and we’re all still here. However, the end of the world might not be the point. The adage “live every day as if it were your last”, despite being clichéd, hits the nail on the head. Why not live the next year as though you only have a year to achieve what you want to? Putting off the eccentric or implausible ambitions will only ensure that they’ll never come to pass. Stay in school. Work hard. Learn things. Also factor in some time to jump out of an airplane or sit in a tree or watch old episodes of Hey Arnold!. Don’t put your real life off for the future. The Decepticons appear intent on making sure there isn’t one.