Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday, October 12th: Should you really give a rat's ass about 2012?

You've seen it in the movie theater previews, and you've read about it through the freakazoid paranoid psychotics on the internet - December of 2012 is when the Mayans say the world is going to end - Doomsday, Baby


This has a strange similarity to Hale-Bopp(remember the Nike shoes?), Y2K, Obama's election, Dubya's election, Oral Roberts' "Jesus will take me home" fundraising campaign....- you get the drift. It seems that the Human species is always figuring out ways to freak itself out over the 'imminent end' of the planet, despite the fact that we've either been here for
1) a couple million years+/- (evolutionist camp)
2) 7,000 years+/- (creationist camp)

Either way, it seems a bit silly that we're freaking out about something that's a couple of years away, when we could be living our lives to the fullest, now - doesn't it? Don't get me wrong, I know it's important to get all lathered up over the future, our country, world, etc - but people, let me tell you something important - now, listen....ready?

It doesn't matter.

I had a great conversation the other night with my good friend Eric who just successfully kicked cancer's ass - for the second time. We were talking about this subject, and how everyone gets wrapped up in the minutia of life & politics. He summed it up in one sentence "Bill, none of this shit really matters." I've thought about what he said - and he's right.

The beautiful thing about having a life-threatening illness is the perspective that it brings. As I've sat in countless bland doctor's offices, been laying half-naked in a hospital gowns inside large machines making strange noises I've been able to mull over the details of life, the people and relationships in my life, and for the first time really 'observe' what is going on around my world - both in the present and recollections of the past.

I know that I've occasionally taken the sarcastic approach in this blog and called people 'douchebags' and ranted a bit, but you know what I've discovered through all of this? I've discovered that many people are focused too much on power, position, money, and being 'important'. I think about folks I encounter in my life now and in the past and it's like the fog has been lifted to where I can truly see their priorities. I am saddened by how many folks seem to be aimlessly trekking through life, wasting away their time in the pursuit of stuff - and not in the pursue of integrity & soul. Whether that 'stuff' is a fancy car, lots of money, the right house, the right 'school', or the right 'look' - it's all immaterial when a doctor looks at you and says "I'm sorry, but you have cancer."

I'm not going to hint remotely at anyone in particular - that isn't fair, and I have no right to judge. But let me tell you, when you have to think about the possibility of a premature death due to illness it really "clears your mental sinuses" and lets you know what's important. This illness has been a beautiful thing - I know, you're saying "Bill, you're beating it, and that's why you can take this positive approach.". You may be right, and I might not be saying these kind of things if I was dying. But it's not my time to go yet, so I have to assume that the pain, suffering, confusion, anguish, and hardships of the past 5 months are intended to push me down a particular path in the 'second half' of my life (see my Hoosiers entry in the blog.)

So, I've established that too many people are pursuing stuff rather than integrity & soul. So what does this have to do with the end of the world according to the Mayan Calendar? First of all, have we really established December 2012 as the end of the world, just because an extinct Central American culture, as my friend Craig puts it, "ran out of paper for their calendar?" For all we know, carving all those pictures in stone gave all the calendar writers carpal tunnel and they finally said 'screw it - that's far enough ahead." Or who knows, maybe the head calendar writing guy got sacrified because he lost one of those wierd life-or-death Mayan ball court games they talk about on the Discovery Channel:

While it looks like this doomsday scenario is going to make a mean movie, I really think everyone should just calm down and smell the roses. Do you know the best thing you can do to alleviate your fear of the future? Life your damn life, and make a difference in the lives of others. Making a difference doesn't mean running around telling everyone through your facebook or linkedin account that you worked for charity, or raised money, or went to a 'charity benefit' with your picture on the social pages - don't get me wrong, these aren't bad, but go and do something that isn't public. Volunteer at a Rescue Mission, use your professional 'capital' to help a friend find a new job 'behind the scenes', spend some in-depth time with someone who isn't going to give you a big fat contract or advance you in business - just enjoy their humanity and learn from their life experience.

Enjoy your time, and don't worry about the future or if you're gonna die in a big-assed comet explosion in 2012. For the few months before my diagnosis and chemo, I experienced the pain of a cancerous tumor eating away at my pelvis - I'd much rather die in an instantaneous explosion than have to die a slow painful death from this disease. Those of you who've seen someone die of cancer or suffer through this disease understand what I'm talking about.

I'll take the Mayan solution in a heartbeat, if it means I have a couple of more awesome years enjoying life, drinking some wine, climbing a mountain or two, and enjoying the company of family & friends. There is a saying attributed to John Wesley, an 18th century priest in the Church of England who founded the Methodist Church, which I think summarizes what constitutes a good use of our time on earth:

"Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can.”

So get off your ass, and go make a difference. And please, make sure you're not being a douchebag while you're at it.

Carpe diem.

p.s. My cancer diagnosis and treatment cost has now exceeded $188,000. Booyah!


  1. I think we should make a pact. If all of these wackos end up being right about the end of the world being on 12.21.12, I think we should gather our families and friends, get a few kegs of beer, and sit in lawn chairs at ground zero of the "comet" or "meteor" or whatever the hell will end this world. If I am gonna die, after 2 bouts of cancer, I want to go out with those most important to me and laughing while I do it.

    Hell, let's agree to have a party that day anyway. Look on the bright side, if the world ends . . . no hangovers!

  2. Bill, I am a friend of your Mother,s and a prayer warrior for your healing. I love to read your posts, you have a wonderful attitude. Yes I know who you get it from. Your Mom is a great person. God bless and keep fighting.