The End of the World

I turned 30 on Monday.Apocalypse

Some small part of me still expects something magical to happen on obvious milestones like birthdays, New Years, etc, but experience has taught me differently. Not that I had a bad birthday – far from it. I just started doing freelance work for a coffee-shop magazine and had a local paper contact me for a journalist position, so that’s great. Not to mention that season 4 of Arrested Development dropped ON MY BIRTHDAY (review to follow), so that’s swell too.

But the point I’m trying to make is that my 30th birthday was much like my 29th, and probably will very closely resemble my 31st. We get attached to the idea that 30 is an important age and attribute significance to it. We program ourselves to get excited for New Years because the old year is behind us and a new one is beginning. But the truth is that life isn’t as simple as that. We are the sum of what has come before us and what is going to be. We are also nothing more than that which we are right now. We will wake, and eat breakfast, and go about our lives every single day, and no milestone will ever change that. There are no act breaks in real life. There is stasis and there is catharsis, moving in perpetual ebb and flow with each other. 2012 is not the end of the world – it is simply another year where the world might end.

And I say this next part for the writers out there – don’t think that you’ll finish writing a book and your life will change. You will wake up the day after it’s finished just the same as any other day. You will find just as much joy in your milky, apple-laden porridge as you did the day before, and will the day after. Writing a book is a long game, but life is a longer one still.

Take the time to enjoy the journey, less than the destination.

Nihil sanctum est?

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55 thoughts on “The End of the World

  1. Good luck and hang to that 30 because before you can blink you will be 60. Like stephrogers is doing, make good memories because it will be all you have…

    • Luckily, I plan on living to be 863, so 60 is a drop in the bucket. Did I mention I’m probably immortal? Haven’t died once yet… coincidence? I think not. 🙂

  2. I’ve stopped celebrating my birthday the day I turned 23.
    30 seemed so far away back then, now I’ll be 30 in a month, and I feel like I’m ready to die, not that I wanna kill myself, but I’m happy with the life I’ve lived, I’ve done a bunch of things that I always wanted to do. Still, I won’t celebrate my birthday, as nobody arounds me (except my partner) knows how old I am.
    Happy belated birthday!

    • Thanks Doggy, I’ve never really been big on celebrating my birthdays either, but actually this one was really nice. My wife threw a party for me LA night, all our friends came over. Campfire, guitar, drums, fire twirling, it was lovely. Still, occasions like that happen most when they’re organic, I feel. Cheers! 🙂

  3. Happy belated b day.
    As for the rest – you will see how getting older does affect you in minor ways.
    And one day you’ll wake up and you will realise that maybe, just maybe, you have to start being grown-up about things 😉

    • I don’t know, Jarina. Some of the happiest, most enlightened people I’ve known are very child-like in their demeanor. I think it is important to be prepared to take responsibility, but equally important to indulge the playful, child-like aspect of yourself. After all, maturity isn’t the same thing as getting older. 🙂

      And thank you! ^^

  4. I don’t know… I feel changed, now that I’m actually publishing my books. But it’s not about other people’s opinions of me. The change is on the inside.

    • That’s fair enough, Olivia. After all, change is the innate nature of the world we live in, always flowing, ever shifting both within and without. And I believe it’s all too possible to steer our boat in the direction we want to go as we flow with life’s current, channeling and funnelling ourselves into artistic endeavours, or business ventures, or familial life. But I also believe that expectation is the enemy of inspiration. Pursuit of the path is what changes you, not the milestone. Change is always a forgone conclusion. ^^

      At least, that’s my thought on the subject, ha. 🙂

  5. Happy birthday! You are wise beyond your 30 years to realize that, while the milestones may be markers in our lives, it’s the small everyday moments that actually *make up* our lives. Hope the year ahead bring many, many small moments of joy for you.

  6. Every word you said, true. The very reason I don’t celebrate my birthday, which, btw, Happy Belated Birthday. I’ll be joining you in the 30s in a couple of weeks. Just another age.

    You know, that’s a good thing, though. I felt, when I turned 29, the same when I did when I turned 23. The only age I felt any “different” was 25, and that’s only because my car insurance premium dropped. I think what makes the difference is whatever growth you experience. From time to time, my porridge tastes different…better. No real change but my outlook on life (and it definitely helps not to review the news).

    Very important thoughts you’ve presented here, I’d say. Nice. Respect, Ryan Brooks.

    • Thanks Sahm, that means a lot coming from a writer as talented as yourself. 🙂

      I hear you though. I don’t feel older, so much as more experienced. And don’t even get me started on the horrors of the mainstream media, arg…

  7. “There is no future/There is no past.” (from Rent, my favorite musical). And what you said about publishing a book is right on. Just keep doing the work. Cheers for this great post!

    • Y’Know, I’ve never seen Rent, but I do enjoy musicals. Will have to add checking it out to my ‘To do’ list. And thanks Larry, I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  8. Reblogged this on Lawrence Hogue and commented:
    I thought publishing a book would change my life. And it did, in some ways. It opened some doors for me. But as Ryan points out, there is always only the work you have in front of you, today, in this moment. It’s a nice reminder.

  9. Pingback: Wisdom from Ryan Brooks

  10. Happy BIrthday!! What you say is so true, it’s important to celebrate each day, not just so-called milestones. Life doesn’t always follow the path you think it will and if you get too caught up in the destination you miss the whole journey and all the great things that happen along the way.

    • Haha, that’s OK Linda, it quickly overshot any semblance of obvious numerical symmetry, and I shall persevere. 😉

      And thank you, it’s pretty cool to see something you’ve worked so hard on comes to fruition. ^^

  11. Happy Birthday Ryan!

    I approach birthdays as just another day of life goes on. Besides, I also embrace them as a day wiser, after all, I don’t want to go backwards in age, intelligence, and wisdom.

    • Cheers Frank!

      Preach. You are indeed a wise man, Frank, I know this, and it’s important for you to know this also. You can’t expect other people to know something that you yourself are unaware of.

      And we certainly don’t want a Benjamin-Button-esque situation on our hands. 😉

  12. Pingback: The End of the World | thisoldtoad

  13. Sometimes I think we put so much on 30 because it comes with a set of expectations like, yes you are grown now. But if you are not growing you are not living and I can say so far 30 and now 32 has been good to me. I have been through a little bit, seen a little bit and like the person I have become. Have a great year.

    • It is a nice feeling growing into yourself, and we should all make the time to appreciate how far we’ve come and what awesome people we in fact are. It can be hard to appreciate the sweeping vistas of the mountain you’re climbing when you’re busy focusing on the summit. Cheers. ^^

  14. Happy birthday Ryan! Wise words there! Writing a book is long, editing is even longer and then it’s done!! And then the grind starts all over again – that’s simply… living. Wish you much joy Ryan, and blessings to go with it!
    🙂 🙂

    • I would wear those suckers until they begin to disintegrate and your coworkers start complaining about the stench. But then, I am a unique individual in some ways… Happy pre-bday, Rose! I sincerely hope I was the first to wish it, and therefore the winner. Also, you have my favourite WordPress handle of them all. 😉

  15. Ryan, what you shared in this particular post has been very well-said because you pointed out certain realities in life that could not have been more authentic. What I’m trying to say is, you are absolutely right in saying “We are nothing more than that which we are right now.” We anticipate the arrival of New Year and prepare our list of New Year’s Resolutions as if January 1 holds a magic wand that will suddenly transform us into better beings or change our circumstances in all ways wonderful. Of course things can happen, but then, other things are about to get in to even things out. 🙂 ( I should know. I’m much older than you 🙂 )
    Still, life is very much worth living. As you said: We simply have to take the time to enjoy the journey, less than the destination. How true.
    Excellent post this is.

    • Thanks Lady, I’m glad you (and many others) see it the way. After writing it, I had thought it might have sounded like I was encouraging apathy, but far from it. If every day is what you make of it, then let milestones mean nothing, and every day be new years! 🙂

      Glad you could stop by. 😉

      • It’s a pleasure to stop by here actually. And no, you’re never encouraging apathy at all. I agree with what many of your commenters had said above: You are a wise young man who tells it like it is.
        Yeah, let’s celebrate our everyday lives as if it’s a never-ending New Year’s Day. We can at least try.
        Warm regards to you.

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