We’re well past game over. We know it. From the destruction of large swaths of the Amazon to ever-accelerating carbon in the atmosphere, it’s game over for the human race. We had a decent run, and we all know who will be running the place long after we’re gone – our friends, the roaches, who can survive damn near anything. In the next two decades, everything will change, and probably not for the better.
And strangely, I’ve never been happier.
This has brought me a fantastic sense of peace and gratitude on a daily basis, a meditation on the joys of everyday life. One of the problems with many meditations is that you’re contemplating something abstract, like the universe, which is just too big to imagine. When you’re contemplating gratitude for the food you eat, it’s abstract.
When you add climate destruction, the abstract becomes concrete. That cup of coffee becomes all the more enjoyable, every day, because the coffee tree is being wiped out. The delicious tuna you’re dining on will become far less available. Even the bar of chocolate will become more scarce as the cacao trees are devastated from climate destruction. You become grateful for each meal, each day, because you know that within your lifetime, what’s on your plate may become unavailable. So you take joy in even the simple things, and you teach your kids to enjoy what they have, right now, because they won’t always have it.
When you sit in your backyard and watch the sunset, see the birds, listen to the bees around you, you know that each day is the last you’ll see of the climate like this. In a dozen years, you might not hear nearly as many birds. You might not see any bees at all. You’re grateful for them around you today.
When you cook dinner for your family, when your kids have enough to eat and their favorite foods, happiness is yours for the day. You know you’ll do what you can to provide for them and teach them to adapt to the changing world, but simple joys in the moment become all the more poignant.
And the best part is this: if you’re right about climate destruction, you will enjoy things before they vanish, remembering them with clarity. And if you’re wrong, and humanity does manage to pull through, then you lived your life enjoying each day as much as possible. Either way, you win.
Mindfulness is a lot easier when every aspect of your quality of life has an expiration date that will be within your natural lifetime.
Enjoy the day. Today is the last day you’ll have like this.
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