The theme (obvious though it was) has been the end of the world.
We’ve talked about a lot of things, you and I, and how they related to that possible end. We talked about how we raise our children and thus our future. We talked about aging. We talked about creating things not of flesh. I wrote you many stories. I hawked them ad nauseam (because that’s part of it, too).
Obviously the world hasn’t ended. I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve, and it’s not yet midnight in the hemisphere of the Mayans, but I’d take us making it to tomorrow in the points if I were placing a bet.
It did end for a lot of people. You knew some of them. You read and watched endless news coverage of others. Most of them you have no idea are gone, and that’s shitty and probably entirely necessary (and that’s even shittier).
The simple truth is I have nothing meaningful to say about the overall state of the world and/or mankind. I’m one more guy perpetually caught up in his own bullshit. I wrote about my 2012 writing highlights over on my Tumblr. I meant all of those things, and all them are meaningful, but they’re only meaningful to me and those who love me (couldn’t fill an elevator with ‘em. I’m just saying).
Good things happened to and for me. More than bad things did. I think that’s the best thing to be able to say about any given year in which you find yourself living. I made massive strides with my screenwriting and, most unexpectedly, returned to my fiction writing, as well. I saw Indie Game: The Movie (a beautiful and extremely well-crafted documentary which should be on far more top ten lists than it is) and it was one of the things that inspired me to create and release more of my own work. Which I did, successfully, in more ways than one.
I also turned thirty this year. I spent a decent portion of my relatively (in geologic terms, certainly) short life convinced I wouldn’t live to see this age. I even courted my own destruction for a long time in a hundred different ways.
I’m happy I was wrong. I’m happier I was wrong whenever horrible things happen to others and don’t happen to me because it reminds me of the truth of that.
I also feel a genuine connection to and sorrow for those who didn’t make it to my current age and never entertained the notion they wouldn’t.
The portion of the lives they lived I pretty much squandered. I sometimes feel like it’s wrong that I should get to enjoy this part and all the parts to come when they can’t, because they did the real work to get here.
And they got solidly fucked out of it.
The truest thing I can say, without the barest molecule of irony or saccharine or self-interest, is for them I will try to do better.
I’ve always measured my life in the goals of the next moment. When I first began training to become a professional wrestler I was instructed in the old school. I began on mats; lumpy, dirty, olfactory-offensive mats on a cement floor. We weren’t allowed beyond those mats until we learned to (shocked gasp) wrestle. The actual ring, four-posted and resplendent with canvas and embossed apron and turnbuckle covers, was this mythic dais to which I aspired; it was literally ten feet away and yet totally forbidden to me. I spent month after month of torture on those mats, popping blood vessels when other teenagers were popping zits, with one eye on the ring. It was all I dreamt about.
And yet as soon as I stepped through those ropes for the first time, the moment I attained my goal of entering that ring, my only thought was, “I want to have my first match.”
As soon as the bell rang on my first match, I wanted to work my first professional match. As soon as I had the cash in my hand from that milestone event, I wanted to work a bigger show for a bigger promotion. Then I wanted to work in another state. Then I wanted to work in another country. Then I wanted to work abroad.
On and on to the next moment.
Writing was the same way. I could only dream of a time when someone would pay me to publish one of my short stories. When that finally happened it felt like the barest stepping-stone. I wanted a pro sale in a bigger market. Then I wanted an anthology. Then I wanted a book. Then I wanted a screenplay deal. Then I wanted a movie.
I would imagine that’s the majority of the world, whether the goal of that next moment is one of career or of love of just of finding your next meal. A lot of people never have the option of living or perceiving reality any other way.
If you do, then you should.
This year, these past couple of years since I moved to Los Angeles, I’ve forced myself to fully perceive and enjoy every moment. And rather than constantly chasing the next, I’ve finally started playing the long game. And by “game” I obviously mean “life.” I see a sustained future in my career, in my personal life. I never really looked at that before.
Now when I make a decision, write a story, plan an evening, I do it with one eye on the moment for what it is and one eye on what it might mean ten years down the line.
It’s a good way to be, a good way to make the most of this linear existence into which we are born.
I highly recommend it.
Oh, and speaking of our linear existence, a brief note about the past: it should only be fuel for the present and future. Well. Maybe not “only” fuel. Reflection and remembrance can be better late at night than a shot of something warm and soothing from a bottle. But it also can’t be an albatross tethered to your every fucking joint, weighting every movement in any direction save backward.
I’m still working on that.
You cried this year, I’ll wager. You laughed. You came (on average probably more than you cried or laughed, and that can be a good thing or a bad thing). You bled. You shed enough cells to create entire galaxies of yourself. You spoke and wrote millions of words, 90% of which meant absolutely nothing. You loved someone to a sickening degree. You hated someone to an equally sickening degree. You did NOT swallow eight spiders because that statistic is bullshit. You did swallow many things of which you will never and should never be aware.
You’ll do all of this again next year.
And you know what? That’s awesome. Awesome in the sense of the universe. More than we are capable of understanding let alone appreciating.
It’s the best carnival ride there is. It’s always the same and it’s always different. It’s not just a ride, it’s the ride. And it’s worth repeating. Several dozen times until you haven’t the strength or mental facility to run the loop again.
I believe our world ends every year. I believe it begins again every year. I believe we create that perception of it in our minds. I believe this is a wholly necessary process.
Welcome to the end of the world.