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It’s 2012. So naturally it’s cliché to write about the end of the world.

Personally, I’m agnostic about doomsday. It was supposed to end in 1992, and then in 2011, and then in 2011 again (those predications all by Harold Camping). And now it’s slated for 2012. The Mayans didn’t really know that the world would end in 2012- but I guess it might. A broken clock is right twice a day after all.

But “end of the world” type discussions often bring up a different question.

What would you do if you only had one day left to live? If the world ended tomorrow, what would you do today?

The correct answer is of course to say you would spend more time with friends and family; focusing more on your loved ones and less on money and possessions.

That’s very cute, and true too. I know I would do that if I had one day left to live.

But if I lived “as if each day was my last” I would end up spending a disproportionate amount of time with my lawyer organising wills and legacies. That’s hardly the way to live a life.

There is an element of truth to the saying “Live each day as if it was your last”. That truth is each life has a purpose. That purpose can be love or it could be money (or it could be something else). But it needs to be a good purpose. There is nothing worse than a wasted life. Remember this.

But there is no better way to waste a life than to “live each day as if it was your last”. It would be like having the attention span of a goldfish, never doing anything for long enough for it to become meaningful, because tomorrow will never come.

“Hi I’m Dory, can we spend some time together- OMG THE END OF THE WORLD!- Oh hi, I’m Dory and I want to strengthen our relationship- DOOMSDAY OMG WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!” and on and on and on.

Relationships take time to build. If each day was your last, you wouldn’t have the time to build the strong, stable and beautiful friendships that only years of fellowship can create. The best purpose is one that you hold for many years, because then it will deepen and mature and blossom for longer, and have greater impact.

Personally I do not think that family and friends are the best long-term purpose for a life anyway, because friends and family members die, move away and become estranged. You cannot build lasting purpose around people because people do not last.

Whatever you build your life around, it needs to last. And you need the urgency of a dying man to stick to that purpose and avoid distractions. It’s a balancing act.