Not to be depressing, but I had an unnerving realisation when I was about fifteen: it occurred to me that if the world ended, it wouldn’t matter. It literally would not matter. For starters, there’s be no one left for it to matter to, but also, in the grand scheme of the universe, it simply wouldn’t matter. It may even be a good thing for this polluting, earth devouring race to die out. I thought about it for a long time because although everything seemed completely pointless, it was mightily juxtaposed against my day to day frenzy of trying to survive my GCSEs, learn lines for shows I was performing in and attempting to be more like the people I saw on TV – all things that had so much point to them for me.
Throughout my late teeans, my realisation of the pointlessness of it all would occasionally resurface and the fact that in 100 years, none of it (not even my looming GCSES,) would matter anyway – because I wouldn’t be here. It would get me down, before being consumed by some other grand life drama. And then one day, it all changed. I wish I could say there was some epiphanical moment, or a heavenly event that made it happen: a message from the Gods. In truth, I can’t even pinpoint the time in which it happened. I imagine it happened slowly, those thoughts as transient as all others, swallowed up by bigger thoughts, shifting in their form and emerging as something new. By my early 20s, I’d been gifted a new, more positive, train of thought. The thought that screamed: ‘Yikes, less than 100 years to do something – to change something – to make a difference. I’d better get started.’
Throughout our lives we choose our challenges, missions and determinations and I am a firm believer that we could use our walk in the light to make life a little better, in some way, for those coming after us. And for those here now too. And for ourselves.
So for me, living my life under the premise of ‘less-than-100-years’ has become a great, good thing. I try never to fight the pointless battles, the day to day disagreements or the superficial grievances. There are so many more important battles worth fighting, the ones for equality, fairness and justice, the ones that might make the world a better place for a great number of people. I can’t tell you what they’ll look like, or when they’ll arise, just seek out your battles carefully and make your decisions wisely, and in time you’ll discover what matters to you.
And of course, I frequently forget the 100-year-thing in day to day life. I get shy, I don’t take risks, I miss opportunities, I worry too much about the way I look, or the lines I’m learning. But these are all the small things that give our lives their meaning: the obstacles we have to overcome. I just give myself a little nudge with the-100-year reminder every time I find myself shying away from the great challenges of life, it tends to set me back on course. I have nothing to lose