So It’s Finally Here

I’ve been hearing about the 12-21-12 apocalypse for quite some time now. It’s hard to believe that the day is finally here. I have given some thought to what I’d act like if I really thought there was a chance that the world would end today. Certainly I don’t believe I’d be at work. I think I’d call my folks and say goodbye although I’m not sure I’d want to share my last few hours with anyone. I’ve never lived through an apocalypse but I have to imagine it’s an intensely private experience. I’d like to think I could meet the end with calm dignity but I’m sure I’d be busy regretting all the things that I’d never get to do and the things I never get to say. I’d probably spend my last few minutes trying to do deals with God. There is one school of thought that says we should live each day as though it’s our last. I’d never go to work in that case. I think we have to believe in a future to motivate ourselves to do what’s necessary but live each day to the fullest so that if it’s our last, there won’t be regrets.

I guess the benefit of these doomsday predictions is that they force you to think about the finite. Life isn’t endless. It’s what you do with what you are given that matters. A family friend gave me a magnet when I graduated from nursing school. Printed on it was a poem about Success in Life by Ralph Waldo Emerson. At the time I thought it was a cheap present and that I deserved so much more. But since then, I’ve re-read the poem a multitude of times and seen what a precious gift it really was

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of
intelligent people and affection of children; to learn the
appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of
false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in
others; to leave the world a little bit better, whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social
condition; to know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

As a nurse, I feel as though I’ve left the world a little better but is that all there is? Surely life is about more than service. What about those folks who make out the long bucket lists full of unique experiences. Those experiences add excitement to life and I’m all for that but a life without any service seems just as empty as a life without experience. I have to believe that a life worth living comes down to balance. Balancing service with experience, work with reward and serious contemplation with bouts of laughter. I don’t believe the world will end today. I would like my take-away from this day to be a new found respect for all that life has to offer. I would like to find the balance between service and experience so that I can live a richer, more abundant life.

Have a happy Not The End of The World day!

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