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Congratulations on Making It to 2023, The Final Year
Here at Time, we find it incredibly important to update you on any changes, updates, irregularities, and goings on. However, the purpose of this particular letter is celebratory. We would like to formally congratulate you on making it to 2023, which will officially be the final year.
We’ve seen many years over the years: 1789. 105. 1453. 280. 1066. 476. 2020.
Year 33 was particularly influential—not to mention the seemingly endless years before. But now we’ve reached the final year, and we couldn’t be more proud that you’re here for it.
So: what should you expect in the final year? Well, don’t get too excited—99 percent of all years have been forgotten by most everyone except keen historians. Luckily, this year won’t have that problem because there won’t be any more years after this one, and since it will always be this year, nobody will ever manage to forget about it. Isn’t that wonderful?
“Why now?” you may be asking, “Why is 2023 the final year?” To put it simply: that’s as many years as we budgeted for. We honestly didn’t think we’d see the eighteenth century, never mind the 2020s. It’s a bit of a miracle any of us made it this far—for a few hundred years, we’ve been running on empty, so to speak.
Now, let’s make one thing clear: this doesn’t mean “the world is ending,” as various apocryphal stories have said about many other years. We are simply informing you that this will be the last of all the years, and congratulating you on making it this far.
So don’t worry—the planet will not suddenly implode. Life as we know it will not abruptly cease to exist. There will, we assure you, be many more seasons of Survivor. But they will all be taking place in 2023. From now on, 2023 is the only year it will ever be.
And there are many benefits. For instance, you’ll never have to roll your eyes after doing some paperwork and say, “I gotta stop writing 2023 on everything.” Because you will never need to stop writing 2023 on everything.
And just think of future generations, who will all, forever, have been born in the same year. People all over the world will finally have something new in common: none of them will ever age. On paper. In reality, they’ll wither away like the rest of us have always done!
And now, a brief disclaimer: the world will end someday. And because 2023 is the final year, the world will end in 2023. But we assure you that it won’t happen until a long, long way into 2023. You’ll probably be gone by then. Maybe we all will be. And if that’s how it happens, then 2023 doesn’t ever really have to end, does it? We sure hope not.
So once again, congratulations. You’ve made it to the final year—make it a good one, won’t you?
(Published on McSweeney’s today.)
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Behind the Writing
I’ve done plenty of humor writing on how we perceive time. I knew I wanted to tackle the topic again, but I didn’t want to fall back on the same kinds of jokes I’ve created in the past. Besides, my trilogy of “How Time Works Now” essays felt too tidy together to tack on more iterations. So I decided to explore how a new year can make us feel more emotions than rebirth and a blank slate; it can also feel daunting, like we’re starting to go up to the top of the rollercoaster ride again—and who knows how far we’ll drop when we go over the edge?
If all this sounds a bit bleak, that’s because it is, a little. And when the world feels like it’s slinking up to the edge of an unnavigable drop, finding a way to laugh at how I’m feeling can be incredibly cathartic. So that’s what I’ve tried to do here. I hope it’s funny and cathartic for you, as well.
Happy new year, by the way!
That’s all for today—thanks, as always, for reading and supporting this newsletter. See you right here next week.