Year: New, Happy

What good's permitting some prophet of doom to wipe every smile away? Resolve to make the most of civilization's last days.

Unless you've been living with the moose in Pittsburg for the past few years, you know that on Dec. 21, 2012, the world will come to an end. The Mayans predicted it on a big stone calendar they painstakingly carved for our benefit - end of argument.

While some might find the fact depressing, I see it as an opportunity. Philosophers are always telling us (sometimes even carving it into stone) that the path to happiness and fulfillment is to live each day as if it were our last. Well, we now have an entire year in which to test that concept out. And just think of what we can do liberated from the shackles of having to contend with an uncertain future with no end in sight.

For instance, we can start being kinder to each other. If you know that an argument between people or nations probably won't be resolved before doomsday, then why waste any time on it? And we can be more generous, too. The future of the economy might be bleak, but we've certainly got enough stuff lying around that if we decided to share it, we could all have a pretty good time while waiting for the big stone clock to wind down. Finally, we could be creative. Fear of failure pales before the imminent demise of civilization, so why not try out some crazy new ideas, take up a musical instrument, maybe even reform the U.S. tax code? Hey, what's the worst that could happen?

Martin Luther, the great reformer of Christianity, lived his life fully expecting the Earth to burn up at any moment, but he famously said, "Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree."

So maybe it's with that in mind that we, here in the final year of life on Earth, have decided to undertake a rather complete re-design of New Hampshire Magazine. It wasn't easy. Real change is always hard, but the only alternate path eventually leads to stagnation, peculiar smells, algae and mosquito larvae. Oh, wait. That's my fish tank, but you get my point. Who wants to mope around in a fetid fish tank when disaster looms, so we decided to freshen the place up a bit, clean the glass, put in some new colored gravel and restock the guppies and tetras.

Hope you like the changes, but one way or another I value your feedback.

Just be sure it's postmarked before Dec. 21.

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