What would you do in your last 8 minutes?

This week, at the end of the mathematics session at university, we got talking about the Sun, the celestial body rather than the rather dubious newspaper. According to Google, so I am sure it is correct, our sun will actually turn into red giant and engulf our planet in about 5 billion years. You might be thinking, what a morbid topic to be discussing in a mathematics lesson, but it was at the end and originally we started to think about the amount of time it takes for light to travel. I was informing the students that probability had been removed from the key stage 2 curriculum and so that awkward question will the Sun definitely rise the next day no longer needed to be engaged with. As the students claimed it was certain, I reminded them that it takes eight minutes for the light of the Sun to actually reach us, so the sun could have actually exploded now, and we wouldn’t know for another eight minutes. (Google actually says 8 minutes and 20 seconds…although it might just be trying to make us feel better by giving us 20 more seconds!). There was then quite a discussion about what to do in the their final eight minutes. My response? – well finish the session of course…

I wrote, a few weeks ago now, a waffle about “Every Second Counts.” and this can probably be seen as the continuation of that post, or Part 2. The discussion about enjoying their last eight minutes did actually include a range of different suggestions. Once all the socially accepting responses were given e.g. spending time with my love ones, hugging loves ones and saying goodbye to their pets, the discussion moved onto the more elaborate ones. For me, after the usually hugging actions, one of my actions I would really like to do is put a brick through a glass window. Now when I say a brick I mean a proper red clay brick – preferably clean of cement and dirt – and when I say a window, I don’t mean one of those tiny panels of a sash window, I mean one of those huge shop windows where the display beams out at you. I am thinking that this will probably make that great sound that you hear on films when the brick hits this glass as well as shards of glass shattering everywhere! I would probably giggle like a ten year old child and run off before I could be caught even though it would be completely irrelevant. Thinking about this one ‘wild’ action that I will probably ever do in my life, I do think that I would more than likely throw it at toughened glass and the brick would rebound and hit my forehead, knocking me out or, and people who know about physical prowess will relate to this, I am likely to throw the brick and actually miss the window!

When we suddenly start thinking about our last eight minutes (and 20 seconds) what we actually want to achieve can actually be quite creative, although the thought can, for many people, be quite scary. Thinking about the vastness of space and the end of the world can fill us with dread although while I am still currently following my New Year’s Resolution, I am, approaching the end of the world from a slightly different perspective. Rather than thinking that I only have eight minutes left, I would rather think what a great life I have had. Although I am currently still striving to be positive I would like to share three things which I always try to implement in my life in order to be more positive

  • Arguments and disagreements– We often fall out with people or have disagreements. I am probably one of the most stubborn people on the planet, save for the well known donkey. I am the sort of person who likes to think they are correct and try always to win. However, recently I have been trying to change this. I’m not giving up on arguments, that would probably require a complete brain transplant, but I am trying to forgive and forget. There was once a friend who I knew at university. We got on really well and spend many a time enjoying life together talking and laughing. There was however a time when I didn’t go to a birthday party, for reasons which are for too complicated to go into now but my blog about anxiety will probably give you some idea. Anyway, as a result we stopped speaking. And that was it. His sister did get in touch with me some time later but to inform me that he had sadly died. You know, we all have disagreements and arguments, but I always try now to ensure that some sort of agreement is met before sleep – or early the next day. I really learned my lesson that life is really too short.

  • Smile in the mirror– If you ask anyone, they will probably say that they do not like the way they look. Someone once commented to me that one of my eyes was bigger than the other and it became a point of ridicule. Interestingly for me was that fact that they had looked past the huge spot on my nose to recognise my eyes! When we look at ourselves in the mirror we instantly focus on the imperfections. The way our hair is, that pimple or that wrinkle. Now I am no psychologist but I have found something useful when looking at myself in the mirror while adjusting my detailed hair do. Before I start to pick fault with myself I actually smile. Yes plain and simple, smile. It is quite amazing how my mood and view of myself changes. If I had eight minutes to live I do think I would probably smile or want to laugh – I came into the world crying, I certainly want to leave the world laughing!

  • I never bother with people I hate– The world is full of negativity. I feel that some people wake up in the morning feeling bad and are determined to bring everyone else down with them before lunchtime. No matter what, everything is negative. They always see the negative, look forward to the negative or even live the negative. This might have actually been me several times in my life and I know look back thinking how destructive this is. One thing which sets off my anxiety, and please don’t laugh at this, is an envelope on the mat when I come home from work. I instantly think it is something negative and will actually avoid opening it in order to put it out of my mind – you see, focusing on the negative. It might actually be a letter saying that I have won the lottery! Putting my correspondence to one side, I have adopted a policy towards negative people. I have tried in the past to ‘bring them round’ and help them focus on the positive. But when they avoid or refuse I’m afraid I engage the subtitle of this section. I don’t actually hate them, I don’t think, but I like the phrase which I once heard in a Shirley Bassey Concert when she sang – ‘That’s why this lady is a tramp’ – not even sure this is the correct title. People who are negative or nasty. People who treat me badly or comment about me behind my back. People who set out just to argue or can’t discuss without arguing all come into this bracket. From this point on, I’m Mr Positive or if you are negative then sorry – I can’t really be bothered with you.

  • I am aware, before anyone says anything, that sometimes these waffles are indeed just that, a complete waffle. I think I know what I have wanted to communicate here, but as always, I’m not sure whether this has come across. It is because of this that I feel that I need to provide, in true academic style, a brief summary. The world, just like our lives, will one day come to an end. However, it is how we live between now and then which is important, and living a ‘positive’ life is maybe the best way to go. So although you can enjoy thinking about all the ‘fun’ and ‘daring’ things you can do in the last 8 minutes and 20 seconds in 5 billion years time when the sun eventually turns into a red giant, always remember that the important things are what you do every day so when the last eight minutes arrive you can just smile and look back pleasantly on your life. Just remember, scientists think Mercury and/or Mars will crash into us way before the Sun explodes in any case.

    If you have any thoughts or comments about this waffle then please add them in the box below. But, until next time, remember to be who you are and say what you feel because the people who mind don’t matter and the people who matter don’t mind. Have fun and I’ll catch you all later and, until then, consider yourself waffled!

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