Thursday, May 15, 2014

Live the Y2K Life

This week, as part of their on-going Remember When... series, E! Online conjures images of mass hysteria by referencing Y2K. 

Yes, E! I remember this. I remember spending the better part of a year hearing the hype on the news and in the grocery store and at school. I also remember being fourteen years old and quietly questioning the hazy logic behind the doomsday theory, as well as my parents' reassurances that nothing was going to happen. 

We didn't stockpile or hoard water or otherwise prepare, which sorta scared me because even though I was sure we were going to wake up to business as usual on January 1, 2000...what if we didn't? Didn't it seem a little irresponsible to ignore the warnings, to scoff in the face of the slight possibility that all those experts and crazed consumers were right? 

The only difference I noticed was that, despite their apparent lack of concern, my dad's siblings and their families spent that particular New Year's Eve with us. It had never happened before, and it never happened again. Guess we were gonna starve together if the Y2Krazies were to become validated. 

For the record, I also remember the Hale-Bopp comet catastrophe a few years prior to Y2K stealing the spotlight. And in addition to various references to prophets and religious leaders on the news throughout the decade that would prove Y2K was a falsehood, I remember the debacle of December 21, 2012. (Perhaps it was the abundance of cable documentaries and books in the new age section, but I was a little more nervous about that one. I just thought Hale-Bopp was kinda cool.)

I have always suspected, and Wikipedia confirms, that humanity has been obsessed with the end of time since...well, since basically the beginning of time. Beyond the Bible or any other sacred text or set of beliefs, there seems to be something rooted in our psychology that makes us question our tenuous grasp on existence. The pragmatist in me also realizes that many individuals and groups stand to profit from doomsday predictions, through inflated sales and inflated egos. 

But whoever the prophet and whatever the motivation, the prolific amount of predictions throughout the decades do reveal one truth: we should all be mindful of how we are living, just in case one of these guys bumbles around and actually gets it right. 

That isn't to say that I'm going to raise my daughter Doomsday Preppers style, though Adam sure would like to. If only because he thinks it's cool to know that you can use discarded cooking oil from fast-food joints to create makeshift diesel, and he'd build a bunker just to prove he could do it.  But that is to say that I want to live a life that is full to the brim, whether it's a comet or old age that whisks me away to the next destination. 

So if nothing else, I guess Y2K got that one thing right. I bet, for at least that one year, some people were more open-minded, more loving, more thoughtful. I bet they hugged their children a little tighter every night. I bet they took lots of photos, or took care to create more moments worth being photographed. I bet they wrote in their journals and called their parents and sang every time they got in the car and took longer bubble baths. I bet they played baseball in the yard before they washed the dishes and drove across town for frozen yogurt for dessert. 

And I bet I just didn't notice a difference because that's how my parents raised me to live every day of every year, impending apocalypse or not.  

I pledge to raise my own child like it's Y2K every day. Who's with me? 

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