After reading a lengthy and apparently well-informed article about the imminent doom of my beloved Pacific Northwest home in the face of an impending ("one in three chance in the next ten years" stuck out at me) Cascadia fault zone earthquake, I was, understandably, somewhat perturbed. "GET OUT NOW!! The sooner you're moved away the better!" screamed part of my brain.
No place and no person is untouchable when it comes to life-altering events. (Not to make us all paranoid or anything -- really! They aren't all necessarily doom-and-gloom! Sometimes these events can be happy things too, like getting the right job to jump-start your career or meeting the love of your life!) Does that mean we should exist in a constant state of uncertainty? No. We can't.
We plan because we must assume that tomorrow is coming and that it will connect to things that happened today. We anticipate continuing. We want to survive and we have some sort of natural faith that we will. So, we plan.
I love to plan! Other than dentist appointments, it's usually exciting! Am I ignoring impending doom? Not really. We're all gonna die someday, guys. Articles like these are only scary because they wave our mortality and our ultimate lack of control over it in our faces. Some way or another, eventually our small lights go out.
However, I think that keeping that tucked away in the back of one's mind (and occasionally having it aired out as a media sensation) ultimately only gives more meaning to our plans, our current be-ing, and our anticipation of continued existence. We can't let it hold us back, for then what could we achieve to give meaning our brief roles in this grand scheme of things?
Let us allow our sense of mortality to help ground us, but not stall us; to not weigh us down, but give weight to our words, actions, and interactions; to help us value existence as all the more precious and make plans for tomorrow, next week, and next year that celebrate our humanity and help it move forward.