Take It Easy: You Don’t Have to Plan for the End of the World

My wish for the world: peace and love in 2013.

My wish for the world: peace and love in 2013.

Miles run yesterday: 10

Days until the end of the world: 1

Days until Christmas: 5

Here’s the deal: if you are concerned about a nuclear holocaust or the old Y2K kind of massive computer glitch or World War III, I completely understand your need to hoard batteries, canned goods and Just Dance 4.

However, if the end of the world is upon us–say, tomorrow–and we are about to be smote or collected up into heaven or cease to exist, it’s a free ticket: stop planning.

I’m a planner.

You may recall that when I was 5 years old, I planned a Christmas party without telling my mom, I helped plan prom, I planned our wedding, I planned to have two kids, I planned to go back to work full-time…. oops. That hasn’t happened yet. Well, it will. It will, I tell you.

Back when I was working in my very first salaried job, I became friends with a girl who is now a very famous writer. At the time, she was temping at the place where I worked, and she told me she wanted to write books that people would read, and I didn’t really believe her. I think I nodded the way you do when a kid says that he is going to be a famous basketball player or video game designer when he grows up.

Anyway, I knew her then; I don’t know her now. I guess I didn’t plan that part very well.

One day, on a day I must have been feeling flush with cash, she and I went out to get pizza for lunch.

As we sat there, I told her about my irritating situation: my grandmother had bought a grand piano, and she was ready to send me her old, upright piano.

“Don’t get me wrong: I’m very thankful to be getting a piano,” I said, between chews. “But it’s just out of order.”

She wiped her mouth neatly with a napkin. “Out of order?”

“I mean, out of life order, you know? Like, first you go to college, then you get a job, then you get married, then you get a house, then you get a piano.”

She gave me a weird look. “I have never, ever thought about life that way.”

Never? Ever? “You don’t plan out your life?”

She looked at me with pity. “Life happens, and you roll with it.”

This was a new life philosophy with which I had not yet been acquainted. I didn’t roll, and life didn’t happen. Life fit into neat boxes which I had prepared.

I ended up taking jobs that required event planning and writing planning and scheduling.

She became a successful author.

Much as I love to plan, tomorrow’s big end time scare actually makes me happy. If the world comes to a screeching halt, all the batteries in the world won’t help you.

I’m free!

So I can stop checking things off the various lists I keep around the house.

I don’t need to plan future newspaper columns for 2013. I don’t need to remember to pack large, warehouse club-sized packets of bread yeast to take to my mom at Christmastime. I shouldn’t worry too much about all the cookies I have planned to bake tomorrow.

I’m going to kick back and read Gone Girl. It’s a page-turner. And I plan to finish it before the world ends.

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