Jessica Sink, Columnist

(ERIN KILLINGER | The Miami Student)

Happy New Year! Here it is: 2012, the 12th year of the third millennium of the 21st century. The United Nations General Assembly designated 2012 as the “International Year of Cooperatives,” and the “International Year of Sustainability for All,” in order to emphasize the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, whatever that means.

The year 2012 looks to be a remarkable one. It marks the second and last solar transit of Venus of the century and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. It also marks the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s ascension to the throne, the 60th anniversary of NBC’s Today Show and the 100th anniversary of a very big boat that sank next to an iceberg. A variety of popular beliefs also suggest that 2012 will see the apocalyptic end of the world, as we know it.

According to an ancient Mayan prophecy, there will be a shift in the global calendar on Dec. 21. At that point, the calendar reaches the end of its 5,126th epoch. This has been interpreted to suggest the end of the world will come that day through natural disasters and worldwide catastrophes including earthquakes, floods and dramatic temperature changes. The movie 2012 began with images of the state of California plunging into the sea, and balls of fire falling from the sky. Not intended to be taken seriously, of course. After all, it is just a movie.

Yet, with any doomsday prediction, people get excited. Believers are fascinated with the idea that 2012 could be the last year of earth. As with the infamous Y2K event, many are preparing, stocking food, buying vacation packages to the Caribbean and registering for skydiving lessons. The official website for the apocalyptic date, www.December212012.com, posted an article about the Mexican city of Tapachula installing a countdown clock in the middle of the city to keep everyone focused on the amount of time left.

Although there is no certainty about these predictions, merely speculation, there could be a bright side to a coming doomsday. In an attempt to think positively, for Miami University students, it would mean no more group projects, internships, student loans, utility bills or frustratingly short one day “fall breaks.” For everyone else, no more IRS, credit card bills or workplace issues.

Perhaps Congress already knows something the rest of us don’t know. Why worry about the impossibility of repaying a $15.2 trillion national debt or the danger of nuclear war? If the world is ending in December, there is no reason to fret. Ron Paul may be smarter than we think.

All jokes aside, no one knows whether 2012 will be the last year we all live and breathe. No day is guaranteed. It’s extremely likely that, before our time, a dinosaur went to bed thinking there would be a tomorrow. Ultimately, the goal should be to live each day like it is your last. Not to throw it away on meaningless pursuits, but really do something worthwhile. Ask yourself, if today were your last day, would you be able to stand up and be proud of it?

In the movie Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s character relives the same day over and over again, caught in an endless cycle of waking up to Feb. 2. It is only after he learns the true value of life that he is able to escape and become a better person. There is a countdown clock on each of our lives; the goal is to be sure those minutes really matter.

It seems we are constantly looking for an end, preparing for a doomsday, living in uncertainty. Yet, if we always fear the end, we won’t really enjoy the journey. Whatever happens, make 2012 a great year. Make good choices and always find the joy in each day. The world could end on Dec. 21 or it could end on Dec. 20. It is a leap year, after all.

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