12-12-12: Coping Strategies for Facing the End of the World (Oops — I mean, the Year!)


There are a bunch of crazies out there who think the world is going to end on December 21st… because the Mayan calendar is ending on that date after 5,000 odd years. There are celebrations galore planned in Mexico — and you have to admire the gumption of turning panic into a tourist opportunity.  Here is a nice article from the Huffington Post on the phenomenon. The media loves these stories, which come around frequently (remember Y2K?). I tend to ignore these topics, but while doing my soccer mom driving duties last night, I found myself listening to an interview on KPCC with a Mayan advocate. Here is a link to the fascinating interview — and, here’s a shout out to Dick Gordon’s The Story which I had never heard before.

The activist, Cristina Croc is from Belize, and does a good job articulating: a/why they Maya themselves don’t think the world is ending and b/the environmental and land-grab issues concerning her culture about which we should be worried.

Croc said that her culture focuses on the Beginning that December 21 represents and explained some neat stuff about her culture’s traditional use of the calendar:  the Mayan calendar might suggest that a certain day might present an emotional difficulty, and hence her grandparents would prepare for the day accordingly. Sort of a cross between the Farmer’s Almanac and a Horoscope.

I suspect that our culture’s odd tendency to focus on the End of the World is a convenient dodge from dealing with the facts at hand in any transition. It’s hard to avoid taking account of your life when the calendar turns and perhaps if things aren’t going so well, it’s much easier to start whining that the world is coming to an end. Chicken Little and all. For me, it’s all about time passing way too quickly. As in, my kids are growing up WAY too fast and it’s a shock to realize that 2012 is over.

So, instead of focusing on the end of the WORLD, I’m going to think about 2012 ending and 2013 beginning.  My December has been focused on end of year accounting, wrapping up a myriad of projects and giving money to my favorite charities. I admit, it always feels good to tidy up before the holidays…  it gives me something to toast at those holiday parties.

As for 2013, here are my personal “hacks” for stemming the tides of time.

A Five Year Diary: I hate to admit it, but sometimes I have a hard time remembering what we did for Christmas last year (or Spring Break, or a birthday, etc.) Sadly, as rich as life can be, each year starts to blend to the next…  So, I bought this nifty Five Year Diary, that asks the simple question: Where Will You be Five Years from Today?  Every few nights I write down the most basic description of my day. Five lines only. NO emotions, no crazy detail. Just the facts. I also like this cute one that quotes Jane Austen each day, called Jane-a-Day, which I gave to my sister for her birthday.

A Great Day Planner: I love my iPhone but am old school when it comes to looking at the week and knowing what’s ahead. I still use a paper calendar and though I don’t think there has never been a perfect day planner invented, here are two that work pretty well for me. The one I had last year, above, and the new one — a Moleskine version — that my daughter has wrapped up for me for Christmas. Personally, I like to have all the days of the week in one glance, and then a page for notes.

Take a LOT of photographs: I got an iPhone this past year, and have to say that being able to flip back over the whole year of images is a huge jolt to my memory – not to mention, a boost to my mood.  I love all the new apps that help me filter and crop and make my images look really great. A shout out to Snapseed for giving me lots of fun this year. I try to post one photo a day to Instagram (one, and ONLY one, insists my photo-savvy teenage son) and love being in touch with my kids and friends through their Instagram feeds.

I’m writing this on 12-12-12, which seems to me as good a time as ever to fret about time passing and the year ending.

What are your strategies for tracking time?