Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The End Of The World

You'll never read this, because by now the world has ended. 
Or you're reading this because the world didn't end today, and now I feel like a fool wasting all this time on an End Of The World playlist only to find out that the world didn't end after all. 
Or the Mayans forgot to mention exactly what time the world is ending today, and we've only got a few minutes left before an asteroid hits & vaporizes us all or the earth's magnetic poles suddenly shift and we all fall off the planet.

So hurry up, and get to reading, because this is definitely the most important thing you should be doing know, reading my little dissertation on the potential End Of The World and listening to music about the sky falling and Armageddon instead of kissing your babies and letting your friends know how important they are to you and how rich your life is for having them in it or booking a flight to that little town in France where everyone in the immediate vicinity will be saved by aliens hiding in the mountain.

Seriously, in some ways, for a lot of people, this past week has seemed like the End Of The World really was coming. For some very innocent souls, it was the End Of The World and for their loved ones it was the End Of The World as they knew it. 

For me it started last Tuesday. I turned my phone off as I was on my way to a business meeting, then bumped into some friends who treated me to a martini. Friends who had their own, tragic End Of The World event many years ago. You can read about it here, and I hope you do.  Then two hours later, when I got back into my car and turned the phone back on, message after message after message began popping up from my sweetheart, who had been frantically trying to reach me to let me know that he'd gotten in touch with all of my family members and friends in the Portland area to make sure everyone was okay, that nobody I knew had been at the mall. (However one of my friend's coworkers was at the Clackamas Mall. She saw a man with a gun, took a step back, and the woman standing next to her was shot.) And then it continued less than 72 hours later when the lives of so many innocent souls were taken in one violent, selfish act of rage.

I can understand how times like this can really make you feel as if the sky is falling. But I am trying not to look at it like that. I'm looking at what's transpired over the past week as a tipping point, and I know I'm not alone in this. Even the NRA realizes it. That enough is enough, and This. Is. Enough. By the time you read this, they will be holding a press conference to say that they're ready to sit down and have a serious discussion about changing gun laws. And it's about time.

But they're not the only ones who need to have a talk. The solution to events like last week's shootings is going to be a lot more than passing gun laws. I'm hoping that the result of these horrific incidents will be that we, as a nation of caring mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, start talking about what else we can do to protect people. Not just from a hail of bullets. But also from the kind of isolation that people with personality disorders and mental illness or general awkwardness sometimes suffer from. The kind of isolation that can result in the kind of resentment and anger that ends with very bad things happening. Maybe we can start discussing whether it's more important to not raise taxes or to have better security in some very important places. We can start talking about raising our children differently. We can talk about finding better ways to help people get the help they need, or channel their anger differently. There IS something positive that can come out of a situation that seems like - and for some actually was - the End Of The World.

You and I, we're a couple of smart cookies, right? We're on the same wavelength, aren't we? We both know that the world isn't ending today. That the end of the Mayan calendar happening on today's date wasn't signalling the actual End Of The World but was acknowledging the end of a cycle. Which means tomorrow the cycle begins again. I think the Mayans were telling us that Saturday, December 22, 2012 is actually the beginning of something new. It's an opportunity for a fresh start. A new day. Day One.

It's a few days early for a New Year's Resolution. Instead, I suggest making a New You Solution. Make today the day to choose something in your life to change. Just one thing for your fresh start. Maybe this is the day that people will make a conscious effort to choose love over hate. To surrender to something instead of struggling against it. To choose acceptance and understanding over rigid, unwavering nincompoopery. To choose to be brave instead of fearful. To say yes instead of no. Maybe today is the day you decide to let go of the notion that God doesn't want certain people to get married because they both have the same private parts. Or maybe today is the day you decide that the right to bear arms to protect yourself doesn't need to include semi-automatic assault weapons. Or maybe today is the day you open yourself up to respectful discussions about these these types of issues with people you disagree with so that meaningful solutions and better understandings are possible instead of righteous indignation. Let's start looking for solutions together to create a better world. 

Because the world isn't ending. A new cycle is beginning. 

I hope it is one of better tolerance, understanding, acceptance and togetherness.

But just in case I'm wrong, please enjoy this one last playlist dedicated to the sky falling, the world ending, and general mayhem. A huge thanks to my good friend Beth Doolittle for inspiring today's playlist. Not only did she say something along the lines of, "Hey Val, you aren't going to let the End Of The World pass you by without making a playlist for it, are ya? Let's do this!" And then, following last week's tragedies, she said, "I'm not interested in stealing your handgun, or your hunting rifle out of your locked gun safe... But I swear to God I'm gonna work for an assault-rifle ban in this country until the day I die." Bless that woman. If I know one thing about her, it's that when she feels passionately about getting something done, nobody will dedicate themselves as tirelessly as she will to make it happen. You go, girl! This Grooveshark playlist is for you.

  1. It's The End Of The World As We Know It - R.E.M.
  2. From The End Of The World - E.L.O.
  3. Sky Is Falling - Lifehouse
  4. The End Of The World - Skeeter Davis
  5. Calamity Song - The Black Keys
  6. Until The End Of The World - Julee Cruise
  7. The End Of The World - The Cure
  8. It's Not The End Of The World - Super Furry Animals
  9. Armageddon - Eddie Izzard
  10. It's Not The End Of The World - Lost Prophets
  11. Until The End Of The World - U2
  12. I Don't Wanna Miss A  Thing (Theme from Armageddon) - Aerosmith
  13. World's End - Pendragon
  14. Earth Died Screaming - Tom Waits
  15. Last Night Of The World - Bruce Cockburn
  16. This Is The Day - The The
  17. Last Day On Earth (from Armageddon) - Harry Gregoson-Williams
  18. This Is The End - The Doors
  19. This Is The Beginning Of The End - Frank Sinatra
  20. Imagine - John Lennon

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