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December 21, 2012

Not the end of the world as we know it

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The Daily Star

---- — Today is the day. The last day on Earth. The day forecast by Mayan calendars as the chosen time of apocalypse and destruction of our planet. 

Or not.

Mayan apocalypse believers find the prophetic date — Dec. 21, 2012 — in the Mayan Long Count Calendar, which is made up of 144,000-day-long cycles called b’ak’tuns. Today marks the end of the 13th b’ak’tun, which is seen as a completed full cycle of creation. 

There are no accompanying apocalyptic predictions to go with this day, only interpretations by people dissatisfied with their lives or the way things are going. They’re ready to wipe the slate clean and start over.

Take your pick of reasons — spiritual, philosophical, environmental, financial, fantastical — and you will find people who believe today is their last day. Some are ready to party until they can party no more. Forget your troubles, max out your credit cards, ditch the mortgage and grab your dancing shoes.

Others, such as those folks on the National Geographic Channel’s “Doomsday Preppers,” take a more survivalist tact by grabbing their shotguns, gas masks and gourmet survival food while huddling in their underground bunkers and using off-the-grid sanitation systems.

And then there are those who find the forecast for doom a little off. Rather than bringing the end of the world, for these people Dec. 22 brings the start of time of transformation and spiritual awakening.

University of Kansas anthropologist John Hoopes, who tracked the online surge of apocalypse predictions this year, expressed this enlightened period as “a time when there is an opportunity for spiritual rebirth and a transformation of consciousness, which has to do with the identification of the metaphysical realities, which will help manifest a global culture of peace.”

While you will most likely be reading the next edition of The Daily Star on Saturday, these doomsday soothsayers do teach a few things we should keep in mind.

We should be prepared for disasters. As Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee last year showed us, nature can be cruel and unforgiving. We should know what to do during a natural disaster or emergency by having a plan in place with our family and friends.

We should be ready and willing to make our world a better place. While some may think global destruction is a solution to the many problems facing us today, we should consider how to improve the circumstances of those less fortunate and the state of our planet and resources.

Finally, all of us should grateful for what we have. Take time to appreciate the love of family and friends that makes our lives worth living. Be thankful for our jobs, our community and all those little gifts we often fail to notice that surrounds us each day.