What if you only had one year left to change your life? What goals would you set? What would you try to accomplish for yourself and for those around you?
Today marks one year until December 21, 2012, a date which some have speculated to be an apocalypse of some sort—so many, in fact, that even NASA felt the need to weigh in on the subject:
While there are much more comprehensive resources out there about the “2012 Apocalypse,” Wikipedia offers a brief overview of why Lloyd Dobler was driving around in a limo while Roland Emmerich blew things up and why Jay Sean was signing about numbers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_phenomenon.
Unlike our 24 / 7 / 365 Gregorian calendar, the Mayans used their rather progressive astronomy work to formulate “b’ak’tuns,” or long count calendar world ages of roughly 5,125 years each. Assuming that Western scholars were even close in their interpretations of Mayan b’ak’tuns (and that all the math is right for the conversion from the Julian to Gregorian calendar, and so on), December 21, 2012 would come up as the end of a Mayan calendar cycle. Then again, since it’s also the winter solstice (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/19/winter-solstice-2011_n_1156526.html) let’s just give those scholars the benefit of the doubt that December 21, 2012 would indeed mark the end of the Mayan fourth world age.
Or does it mark the beginning of the fifth world age?
Really, our numbering systems for marking time are a combination of astronomical observations (the rotation of the Earth, etc.) and our marking of significant points in our history. Different cultures and different religions create calendars based in their systems of belief. Individually, we celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other milestones because they hold meaning in our lives.
The Mayans also viewed the end of a cycle as a time of renewal, rebirth, and change. As Harvey Bricker of Tulane University’s Middle American Research Institute points out “There are abundant written references to dates before the current era, and there are written records about the time after the current era. You know what’s going to happen on the 22nd of December 2012? It will be the first day of the rest of our lives.” (http://tulane.edu/news/newwave/062508_maya.cfm)
You can believe in the end of the world, or you can believe in the beginning of a new one. What if you chose today, December 21, 2011 as the starting point of a year of renewal? Watching the calendar pages peel away over the next year, what could you accomplish for yourself? What could you change for the better in the world around you?