December 21st, 2012: A day that we have all been hearing about for a long time, and a day that many people feared would be their last day on earth. With any luck today will just be like any-other Friday, and we can all go about our business as usual on Saturday. But what if it wasn’t any-other day? What would you toast the end of the world with?
Thankfully, the days leading up to today were more filled with light-hearted jokes and overly dramatic specials on the History Chanel played for laughs instead of the hand-wringing and anxiety that we experienced in 1999. There were some fun discussions on Twitter about end-of-the-world beers, many craft brewers released special beers for the “event”, and lots of beer writers took to their keyboards to produce lists of the best apocalypse beers.
(For the record, our chosen end-of-days line-up would be the sarcastically appropriate Stone Enjoy By 12-21-12, the most appropriately named La Fin Du Monde, and of course, a coveted bottle of Westy12.)
But what if the prophecies were correct? What if there was no tomorrow?
Even as the world keeps turning there are many people who won’t see tomorrow. Our world is uncertain. Life is uncertain. Death lurks at every corner from disease, psychotic gunmen, cell-phone-distracted drivers, and earth-bound meteorites.
People spend so much time preparing for the future that they forget to enjoy the now.
Let’s all take some time today and reflect on fleeting joy of the present. Step outside and feel the benevolent sun or breathe air that is not filled with ash and fallout. Consider that the most likely apocalypse is often the personal and private one. A death in the family. The loss of a job. A dreaded diagnosis. An accident. These things can seem world-ending, and every day that passes where our own world is not shaken by them is a day to celebrate.
Craft beer drinkers are already better equipped to enjoy the pleasures of the now than many people. We’ve trained to focus our attention on our sense and enjoy each fleeting instant of each sip of beer – from the first whiff to the lingering finish. It’s a difficult thing to be so mindful and attentive of something so simple, and it is something that I don’t think we do often enough.
These times are stressful. The holidays are hard. We all deserve a little break and a little joy today.
I propose that December 21st should be celebrated as a new holiday. A day to acknowledge the simple joys and for everyone to find their own little ritual to celebrate the world’s continuance. But also a day to realize that our reality is fleeting and oh-so-fragile. The world could end tomorrow, and all those bottles you’ve been saving up for a special day will never get to fulfill their destiny. Think of the millions of yeast cells whose work would be for naught.
So, on this day when the world kept on its path around the sun, let’s dip into our stash. Pull out that bottle we’ve been saving for a special occasion and say, “today is the special occasion.”
We never know when the nukes will fly, or the super-volcano will erupt, or the alien overlords will descend. Don’t go-out with a whimper. Don’t say “I wish I had drunk that Cantillon.”
Share it with friends and loved ones if you can, but take the time to reflect on the liquid in your glass. On all the steps that it took to get there, and all the people whose hard-work went into it. For the span of a glass of beer forget about the shopping lists and the travel plans and the global warming and the inevitable death of our sun, and savor the breath in your lungs and the beer on your tongue.
Enjoy the boon of being in the moment before we run out of moments to enjoy.
In other words: today’s the day to drink ’em if you got ’em!