The world ended.

Generations ago now, in all the ways you’d expect. The world ended in fire, as bombs rained down on major metropolitan areas. The world ended in sickness as the dead rose again, hungry and gnawing. The world ended in ice, as the climate changed into extremes beyond repair. People died. People killed. People suffered. People lost.

The world ended.

But that’s not the point.

It’s been a very, very long time since then. In a world blanketed in ash, the first green and growing things began to poke through the surface, and then reclaim the wreckage. People went from surviving on scraps and fighting over everything to working together to create communities and build new civilizations. New cultures formed, maybe cultures that could do better than the old ones who went before.

If the world fell in nuclear winter, you might think of it now as nuclear spring.

And sure, it was bad for a while. When the world crumbles around you, the drive to just make it through another day eclipses the drive to grow. When you’ve seen the worst humanity has to offer, it’s going to be hard to trust again for a while, maybe decades, maybe centuries. When you don’t know what tomorrow brings, it’s hard to hope.

But hope is a funny, persistent little thing. And it just. Wouldn’t. Die.

With all those negatives came positives. War hardened people, but it also taught them how to work together. Hardship starved communities to bones, but it encouraged ingenuity and invention. Sickness ravaged bodies, but also gave them the gift of living again... and again... and again.

So here you are. Looking at all the came before you, the war and ruin, the hardship and suffering, the cruelty and callousness. And you stand with the other survivors, the ones who made it through the end and through what came after, and you say, “We can be something different. Something better.”

The world ended. And that’s not the point.

The point is what will you make of it now?