By Wayne William Cipriano
Last Sunday I heard on television that the world was approaching the end, and doing so very quickly. It was on television so it has to be true, right?
The more I listened, the more immediate the end seemed. The signs for anyone to see are, according to the speaker, ubiquitous and unmistakable.
Well, thought I, what am I going to do about this? The actual manifestation of the end was not specified so there was little I could envision for anyone, let alone me, to do to stop or even slow the approach of the end. If I could not affect the timetable of the end, what should I do to prepare for it?
I began thinking of all the loose ends and poor behaviors in my life, and the more I thought about them, the more overwhelmed I felt. What to do? In what order?
I fell back upon the moderately obsessive-compulsive personality dimension that has served me very well in the past when any serious questions of time and behavior arose. I began jotting down on a piece of paper, in no particular order, stuff that needed attention in my life as each jumped into my consciousness. And, when after a great deal of time had passed, and finally these things-to-do ceased to pop up, I turned to the second half of my program to deal with the question of what to do as the end approached.
This second step was to place these items and behaviors in order of importance. Making a prioritized list of all the things in my life I have to arrange so I am prepared for the end assures that the important stuff gets done first and guards against the personal failing many of us share when faced with choices as to what to do next. How often do we tackle the easy stuff first just to feel things are getting done, and leave the harder stuff, almost invariably more important, for later?
But, you know, when the end is coming there is not any “later,” is there?
And when I thought about that, I suddenly relaxed.
When the end arrives, what difference will it make that all the loose ends of my life, of anyone’s life for that matter, are resolved or not? That all our affairs are placed in order? After all, as I understood what I heard, this was not my personal end this was the Big End.
Thinking that the Big End is just about to happen makes it pretty clear that there is not that much that is really important, is there? And, so my prioritized list can be significantly shortened. In fact, it boils down to an extremely small number of things to do between now and the imminent Big End, and strangely enough, they are all very easy to accomplish!
If you knew for sure tomorrow was the Big End, what would you do today?