Christmas is over and we’re a couple of days away from ringing in the new year. It’s a naturally reflective period and I’ve found myself mulling over a story a friend relayed to me. This friend heard a story on the radio about a man’s re-entry into the modern world after almost 15 years living in a bunker. Apparently, this man, along with other cohorts from a ‘cultish’ group, believed that Y2K spelled the destruction of the world and so, in order to escape the perils and dangers that they expected, they shut themselves off from society and prepared to remain in their bunkers until 2015 – when the world would be habitable once again.
For whatever reason, this man left the bunker early and, to his astonishment, entered a world that never stopped ticking – that in fact progressed beyond his wildest imagination. Although I never heard the radio program myself, I couldn’t help but imagine the level of regret and sorrow this man must have felt considering the people he lost and abandoned, like his (ex) wife, not to mention his many friends and family; there also must have been numerous “what if” thoughts that traversed his mind considering the time he wasted sealed from society.
It takes a certain level of ingenuity and preparation in order to shut oneself from the world and sustain human life whilst living apart from others. Somehow this group of people managed to survive for so long. Imagine some of the great things they could have done or created had they devoted their energy to really living their lives and not holing themselves up somewhere underground while others in the world marched on?
If someone told me that the world really was to end imminently, I’d hope that I would live – clichéd as it sounds – each remaining day to the full. Of course, there’s no need to wait to hear the death knell. We can all live our lives in a big way, as though we have no choice but to do so.
Personally, I think that for 2014 this man’s story will be my touchstone for the year so that I can remember the importance of really living life – living as though I’m dying or as though the world will end at a moment’s notice – even if it means that I’ll be exposed to the elements and buffeted by life’s waves. I may take a line from Fefe Dobson’s song “Legacy” and use it as my motto for the year: “If I die tonight at least I left a legacy”. Hopefully those words will be true.