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#1 Apocalypse Now

You've got to remain at home. Even your cities are empty. The number of Covid-19 cases passes 100million worldwide in the week that I write, almost one year 'After-Covid' (1 A.C).

As we come to terms with the virus being something we've got to live with and adapt to for the foreseeable, my brother said to me recently, "imagine if this time next year, we look back at February 2021 and we all think, 'Jesus! Remember how we figured that that situation was bad'!"

While we all hope our vaccines will put a big dent in this thing, my brother had a point. With a little knowledge of previous pandemics (think 'The Spanish Flu' and 'The Black Death'), and a little imagination, you could easily see this virus - with a fatality range in the ballpark of 2-6% - as being a dress rehearsal for a pandemic with say, a greater than 50% mortality rate.

It's possible. But for now at least, you'd be forgiven for occasionally believing that we're living through the end-times. Some kind of post-apocalyptic horror movie. Perhaps analogy to a bad zombie movie would be more apt, given the severe cases of cabin-fever.

But look again at your situation now that you've been removed from much of your daily role, and from society-at-large. Any lockdown-causing apocalypse gives us the reflective opportunity to do this reevaluation at least. Look again at the Greek roots of the word 'apocalypse' - 'apokalyptein' - literally made up of 'apo', meaning "off or away from" + 'kalyptein', meaning "to cover or conceal". Therefore, the meaningful translation is 'to uncover' or 'to reveal'. Knowing the original meaning, our traditional connotations of the word as referring to something exclusively horrific, is turned on it's head. An apocalypse can be an opportunity to uncover something new. It need not be Zombie Armageddon.

Take another look at your life then. Re-see it, as it is now. Because, as was always the case, this moment is the only one you have.

Before our final moments expire, just like the moments before the latest lockdown, there will be the last moment you will do certain things. Go shopping, throw a party, congregate in a religious or sports group, share a pint, share a hug... We never know when the last time will be. Embrace the apparent apocalypse of your time by re-appraising now what is most important to you. Many of us have been doing this reevaluation naturally during the forced introspection of lockdown. But whether you're stagnated in a numbing depression or well on your way to self-actualising, it's never too trivial or too late to listen again - very kindly - to your heard and mind. What is your most important question?

I like some of the perspective-giving videos online that have little balls or beads representing the minutes, hours, days in an average lifespan. Starting with a full container of beads, a third of the beads are removed for the third of your life (if your lucky) spent asleep. After the days of beads spent at work are removed, and the 'bead-hours' spent on your phone and scrolling social media are plucked, there's a surprisingly limited number of beads remaining.

When reevaluating your life, or part thereof, it can be instructive to begin at the end. In 2009, a now famous article by an Australian palliative nurse, Bronnie Ware, unveiled the 'Top Five Regrets of the Dying'. Among the thousands of patients interviewed during their last weeks of life, their regrets were found to be remarkably similar. None of them regretted the risks they took; None of them had wished they climbed to higher rungs of the property or social ladder; None of them worried about their bank balance; None of them explicitly mentioned things you might have thought on their bucket list like a bungee jump or jumping out of a plane. The Top Five Regrets were telling into how we all tend to live our lives. (For a few additional sentences elucidating each regret, find Ware's original blog post here).The Top Five Regrets were: 1) "I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself; 2) "I wish I hadn't worked so hard"; 3) "I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings"; 4) "I wish I'd stayed in touch with my friends"; 5) "I wish I had let myself be happier".

Upon uncovering these gems from ordinary folk like me and you at their real end-of-days, how is it that you would like to live today?


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