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Published December 09 2012

11 things to do for the last 11 days ever

In just 11 days, the world as we know it will be over.

Or, it won’t.

It all depends on whether the apocalypse arrives when the current Mayan calendar cycle, which started on 3114 B.C., ends on Dec. 21.

If you ask Bradley Benton, assistant professor history at North Dakota State University, that’s not going to happen. There’s no proof, he says, that the Mayans believed anything bad was going to happen on that day.

That perception, he believes, comes from us.

“We have projected onto the Maya that something bad might happen. We have this long history of foretelling the end of the world,” Benton says.

Indeed, Dec. 21 is just the latest in a long line of predictions about when the world will end. Even if it’s wrong, though, it still poses a question worth considering: If we only have a matter of days left before our world ends in a blaze of fire, catastrophic floods, sneak attacks by rogue planets or asteroids and a horde of hungry zombies, what would we do?

We thought it over and came up with the following list of 11 things to do during our last 11 days:

Host a party: If the world is going to end, you may as well go out in style by hosting a party for you and your friends.

The music and movies you have on hand should probably have something to do with the end of the world. For music, think R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” or Britney Spears’ “Til the World Ends.” For movies, consider “2012” or “The Day After Tomorrow.”

Your food and drink could be based on the Maya, whose empire was based in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador. Tropical flavors and Mexican food would probably get the job done here.

As the host, it will be your duty to be cheerful and excited about your party. It’s easy to be bummed about the world ending, but try to keep a smile on your face.

Order a fancy meal at that restaurant you’ve never been to: Now is as good a time as any to go visit that Fargo-Moorhead restaurant where you’ve been meaning to eat. At last, order that $80 steak and indulge a little.

Try your hand at a new hobby: Use the remaining days to try something you’ve never done before. Curling, skating, ballroom dancing, playing accordion, whatever – all you have to do is seek out a club or workshop in the area to get started (just check The Forum’s calendar section for helpful information).

Plan a trip to Mexico or Central America: If nothing else, the Mayan prophecy has provided a good deal of publicity for the ancient Maya Empire, which historians say lasted from 2000 B.C. through the arrival of the Spanish.

Since it’s too late (and too expensive) to go before Dec. 21, plan a future trip to see the sights of their society. Visit Tikal in Guatemala, which used to be one of their largest cities, or Coba in Mexico, both of which have a wide array of impressive stone ruins from their time.

If the world doesn’t end, you’ll have a nice, warm vacation to look forward to.

Tell someone how you feel: What better time than at the end of the world to tell someone how you really feel about them? Call, text, email, tweet, Facebook, carrier pigeon – there are plenty of avenues available for you to tell that special someone that you’ve loved (or hated) them for so long.

Of course, if Dec. 22 rolls around and the world is still here, you’ll have to deal with the repercussions of your confessions. Let your feelings out, but play it smart.

Sing karaoke: Get up there and belt your heart out to your favorite tune – maybe “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” from “Armageddon” to keep it thematic – no matter how embarrassing or terrifying it might be for you.

7.) Read that book or watch the movie you’ve been putting off: After the world ends, you’ll never again have the chance to sit down and read that book or watch that movie you just haven’t had time to get around to.

So take some time off from work and flip open that immense copy of “Moby Dick” or “War and Peace,” or finally press play on that epic, four-hour-long DVD of “Lawrence of Arabia.”

Appreciate some culture just in case after Dec. 21 there’s no more culture left to appreciate.

8.) Do something spontaneous: Just for the heck of it, do something completely unexpected. Stay up all night and buy a one-way ticket for an Amtrak train. Get on one of the area’s MATBUS buses without knowing where it’s heading, or go to Hector International Airport and buy a ticket for whichever flight departs next.

9.) Visit a local attraction you’ve never been to: Whether that’s the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead, the Celebrity Walk of Fame at the F-M Visitors Center, the Plains Art Museum in Fargo or anything else, finally go check out that local attraction that you somehow have never gotten around to seeing. You might not have a chance to do so after Dec. 21.

10.) Don’t forget to buy Christmas gifts: Just in case the Mayan prophecy doesn’t come true, don’t be that person who didn’t buy Christmas gifts for their friends and family this year. Because “I thought the world was going to end” probably won’t fly as an excuse come Dec. 25.

11.) Don’t freak out: It seems extremely unlikely that the world will actually end on Dec. 21, so do yourself a favor and don’t freak out over the next 11 days. Don’t go to the grocery store and buy all the canned goods, bottled water and batteries you can get your hands on (because even if the world ends, you won’t be able to use those things anyway. Why waste your money?)

Just sit back and enjoy the holiday season. If the world does end, we’ll at least be spared another long, cold prairie winter.

Or, it won’t end (really, it won’t), and Dec. 22 will just be another day.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535