Friday, May 20, 2011

Since the world is ending tomorrow I thought I'd write one final blog post. A somber farewell. Although I'm sick of the topic, I can't help but jump on the bandwagon (a trite expression I hate but find myself using, then criticizing myself afterward for doing so). Yes, everyone's favorite hobby of the week seems to be making fun of this grand announcement, so I might as well jump aboard (gahh, trite expression #2 already). If you've been hiding under a rock (#3), perhaps you don't know that tomorrow is the beginning of the end. They say 3% of the world's population will die tomorrow and in 5 months time everyone will  be gone. So while you may make it to Memorial Day or July 4th, you might as well cancel any Thanksgiving or Christmas plans. Say your goodbyes and your love yous now because Judgment Day has arrived. Needless to say, tomorrow I will not be waiting for the end of it all, nor will I be celebrating at a "Judgment Day party" to mock the whole thing and have an excuse to drink. Twill be just another day. Sorry to be so boring.

I was driving in to work on Tuesday morning when I first saw the infamous billboard which I now can't avoid seeing 12+ times a day. You know the one... unless you're still hiding under that rock of yours.
At first I thought it was just a very odd plug for but soon the news spread like wildfire (trite expression #4... let's see how many I can rack up (#5?)). That's right, there's actually a group out there who thinks the world is ending tomorrow. And we would be foolish not to believe them, right? Who am I kidding... in today's society we're skeptical of things that are all but fact, so of course no one will believe them. Who is this "them" you ask? "Them" equals Harold Camping and his Project Caravan followers who spent a bunch of money on billboards to spread across the country, because after all... the world's ending tomorrow so might as well spend all that money now. I'll admit, after I first saw the billboard I checked the weather report for Saturday to see if there would be any signs of an earth shattering storm. When I saw that it would just be the usual rain we've had all week, I felt instant relief that the world would not be coming to an end, thank goodness. It got me thinking though... about how it all could end... the ways we fear it happening... what could happen the day after tomorrow? Shoot! That would have been a great line had I written this yesterday. Anyway...

Sure it's possible we could just get a ton of rain again like THE flood circa 4990 B.C... seems all the more plausible after this week. But over time we have dreamed up a lot of ways it could end. Everyone loves a good apocalypse movie. It could be aliens, a black hole, meteor or gamma ray burst from space. In the Bible it DOES say Jesus' return will take place in the sky... though I always pictured this as more of a supernatural experience than something like a meteor. Although, aliens are supernatural... but you know what I mean. Hopefully if it were aliens they would land their UFOs first and come out of their ships, thereby giving us the chance to attack them (as is so often seen in alien movies) rather than simply attacking us all from the sky first and getting it over with. Let us pretend we have a chance. I'm pretty sure we could detect most of these space related finales with satellites and jazz first (though what do I really know on the subject?). So unless this Camping fellow has a high-tech satellite and sees this stuff coming in (or NASA for that matter), I don't think this is how it will all play out. Next!
Look at this fun coloring page I found.
Have your kids color in the aliens shooting laser
beams through people and ending the world. What fun!
Perhaps it wouldn't be something from the sky, but rather something from the earth that ends us all. This string of recent earthquakes and tsunamis are certainly frightening and everyone is up in arms (#6? I lost track) over global warming. Something like this in a grand scale is conceivable. I've always been slightly terrified at the prospect of one of those super volcanoes erupting and disrupting the climate enough to kill all life on Earth. Maybe it will be a wide spread infection. Those like to pop up too. Swine flu, bird flu anyone? Maybe robots really will take over and our own technology will destroy us all. Or perhaps it will be a nuclear war. I still think the only way 3% of the world's population will die tomorrow is if this Camping figure pulls some sort of heinous attack so that no one can call him a liar. It's not really something to joke about. Part of me is worried that his followers may end up pulling something like the Heaven's Gate Hale-Boppers of 1997 who were convinced the world was ending. As I said, not really something to joke about. I don't go around preaching my beliefs, but I am a Christian. I do believe Christ is coming again... just not tomorrow. Insert bible passage Matthew 24:36 here.

Let's face the facts... every prediction of the earth's end thus far has failed. And there have been plenty. I may have fed into them a bit more when I was younger (during the Y2K scare I was a skeptical but slightly paranoid teenager who thought there was at least the possibility of a mass blackout, if not the end of the world), but now it's just silly to think you can predict these things. I'll live tomorrow like a normal day and yes, I'll be seeing you all December 22, 2012 as well. But if you'd rather prepare for the next famine/environmental collapse/solar flare/bombing/magnetic pole reversal be my guest and stock up on food and water, sport your facemasks and hope it will save you in the end. You never know.

Friday, May 06, 2011

It's already happened. I can't believe I'm at the point already where I forget how old I am. The past few times someone has asked me I've had to pause, think "1986" and mentally subtract from 2011 to tell them I'm 24. Quite a difference from my younger years where I could instantly spit out "I'm 11 years, 7 months old". I know I'm still young and therefore you're probably chuckling that I used the phrase "younger years". But as I'm approaching my quarter-century mark this July I've been reflecting more and more on how different I am now than I was. Sure, my personality and interests have remained primarily the same though they've evolved somewhat, as they do over time with everyone as they experience more in life. But I'm pretty sure I'll always be fairly quiet, curious & nerdy and have a soft spot for musical theater. The big difference is in my maturity and outlook on life. I feel like an entirely different person.

When I was young, even as early as elementary school, I remember feeling like I was mentally and emotionally mature for my age. I didn't have much interest in "play time" and I remember "not getting" how to play make believe type games or understanding why it was supposed to be fun. I don't think that's really a maturity thing... I think I was just odd (another thing that never really changed), but I remember feeling like I was more mature. Shift forward a few years to middle and high school and I remember REALLY feeling more mature. I didn't understand why people would be mean to each other, or try to act cool to fit in. I didn't find what most of my peers found funny amusing. And I thought to myself, when adults say "teenagers think they know everything and think they are mature enough to deal with anything", that I was an exception to their statement, because while I may not have known everything, I was still beyond my years in terms of emotional and mental maturity. I felt like I thought like an adult, assessed things like an adult, handled emotions like an adult. In no way was I "inferior" and I expected adults to think of me this way and treat me this way. I laugh at all of this now because it's probably what every teenager feels like. In some ways I do think I was more mature than my peers, but I was still an angst-ridden teenager.

I still remember the first time I felt a disconnect with people younger than me. Not children... I've never been much of a children person, even when I was one. I don't know how to act around kids and basically freak out if I'm around too many at once. No, I'm referring to teenagers, middle & high school age. I was just out of college and whenever I saw a group of teens walking around I felt a very strange disconnect. I'd look at them and smile to myself, thinking about how silly teenage years are, and then it suddenly hit me that I now felt like I fit in more with "adult adults" than teenagers. It was an odd, odd feeling and probably the first time I truly felt like a real adult. However, it's been in the past two years or so that I really started to feel like I'm different from who I was. That I have a firm grasp on who I am, what I believe, what I want and what I stand for. It's strange to think about because like I said before, throughout my whole life I've always felt like a mature, introspective person, but now its different. I can't pinpoint it or describe it well, but I'm grown up.

Just the other day I went through my poetry journal, poems I wrote from age 13 on. Poems that my mother read at the time that led her to believe I was going to commit suicide, to which I laughed as I said "they're just poems!" when really on the inside I knew I was showing them to her to tell her how much I was hurting. As I sat there and read these heart-wrenching words all I could think about was how far I've come and how much I wish I could go back and tell my teenage self that it would all be okay. I don't discredit what I felt at the time. I went through something awful that I dealt with in the best way I could... letting it out in words and through dance. I think about how scared I was and pessimistic; how cruel I thought life was and how all of that gave me the strength and growth to be at where I am now, a complete reversal. Now I am incredibly optimistic and hopeful, excited for the future and everything I have yet to learn and experience. I feel like life is sort of like constantly growing up... there's always more to discover... about yourself, about others and about the world. This sort of turned into a cheesy message on personal growth. I apologize. I'm not sure what my intention was when I first started writing or what I was hoping to say. Certainly not bore you with a self-indulgent story on growing up. I thought it was curious though that my poetry book stopped at the age of 19. Half of this 2 inch thick journal was filled with poems from age 13-19, but not one from before I was teen and not one after. It's not like I made the conscious decision to stop when I was 20; I just did not find myself writing poetry anymore. It's sort of like poetry was meant to help me through my teenage years and then at that point it had served its purpose. Now that is cheesy.

I'm not sure I want to publish this post. It's kind of a mental free-write for me versus my usual re-read and re-work pattern of writing in an attempt to make things funny and/or insightful. I guess I'll post it anyway, at least it's real. I'll probably delete it later.