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Guest column: Life following 'the end'

December 24, 2012
By GIOVANNI P. ROSSI , Weirton Daily Times

It pains me to start this message off so trite and dramatic, but if you are reading this then congratulations on surviving the end of the world. Again.

Personally, I have never bought into the whole "end is nigh" hype. In my short twenty eight years, I've survived the Y2K scare, the raptures of 2010 and 2011, and now December 21 2012. Add this to the thirtyish other apocalypse scenarios expected from 1980 to now and it would seem that we have all spent the last few decades living in a Superman comic.

Every time we are certain the end is coming, it doesn't. So why do we keep worrying about it? What makes the last day, the last hour, or the last minute before it's all over so important? How does having a deadline, quite literally, help? Does it make us better at our jobs? Can it help us accomplish those life goals we've been putting off? Will knowing remind us to be more compassionate of others or spend more time with our families? These are all things we should be doing already. That is the whole idea of living everyday like it's our last. It shouldn't take some overly analyzed prediction to shake our foundation and remind us what is truly important. The concept of "do unto others" is pertinent all day, every day. If we could just keep that in mind, I think a lot less people would dwell on what happens at the end.

I understand this comes at a difficult time for our country. With the threat of a continued economic downfall and the rise in violent crimes, it can be difficult to think times can get better. That needs to change. We as a people need to fix our outlook if we want to fix the world, and it won't be easy.

We need to get back to the basics. More directly, we need to think ahead. How will our actions now affect our lives, our world, tomorrow? This can be as simple as choosing to recycle or using energy efficient bulbs, but it is also so much more.

Consider your health. It's never too late to turn to diet and exercise, and it's never too early to start the next generation of healthy eaters. While it's not always cost effective or time efficient, imagine much you are saving over the long run in hospital bills and insurance. Additionally, maintaining your physical health is a critical step in your psychological development. You have more energy and confidence which are key in combating mental diseases such as depression and other mood disorders.

Rethink certain gifts. Remember baseball gloves and those dolls that wet themselves? Yes, we are living in an age of technology. Children have the entire world at their fingertips, literally, but what does this provide them? Tablets, pods and pads are replacing basic communication, and this is terrifying. Nothing is more out of place than a room full of kids "playing" in total silence. We are becoming more tech-dependent at a younger age and it is hurting us in the long run. The younger we become tech-dependent, the more it hurts us in the long run. Keep in mind, putting a computer in a child's pocket gives them over a billion people to seek knowledge and advise from other than you.

Finally, be a role model. It's something the world is in short supply of nowadays. Do unto others and be aware of the world around you. Chances are there is an opportunity for you to help make someone's day a little better. A kind word. An unexpected phone call. These simple gestures can really make a difference. Their impact is immeasurable and they do not cost you a thing. You never know who's watching or when the kindness will be returned.

So there you go. Live healthier. Spend wiser. Be a role model. While this didn't start out as a piece about New Years, don't those sound like some great resolutions?

The end of the world is coming. It is not something we can fight or stop. What we can do is make every day until then worth living, not only for ourselves, but for those around us and those generations to come. Because if we aren't striving to make life better, hasn't the end already come?

(Rossi, a native of Weirton, is a former staff writer for The Weirton Daily Times, currently living in Mt. Juliet, Tenn.)

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