A year is the amount of time the Earth takes to rotate around the Sun once. But strictly speaking, this does not have a large impact on our lives or our progress and growth as a person. The concept of a year is largely a construct of our minds to keep track of time; we could just as easily count time in 100-day increments or 3 years, given that most of our lives are not based on agriculture anymore. However, keeping track of time in years is useful because it gives us a reference frame, letting us compare our lives to a set point in the past, or to set goals for a set point in the future.
The practise of taking stock of the year that has been is great because we are naturally blind to change when it happens slowly. We are very bad at noticing gradual changes, so we will often be surprised that our hair looks longer or our body looks better than the past when we look at an old photo. Therefore, reviewing an entire year worth of moments and change will show you exactly how much we have experienced and grown. There will be many relationships and connections you’ve deepened, adventures you had forgotten about and much personal growth that seem so much healthier and more mature compared to your past self.
If that is the case for reviewing a year, then how about reviewing an entire decade? The close of a decade is a rare moment and ten years is a surprisingly long period of time when you really think about it. Some people reading this may be so young that they do not even know exactly what they were like or what happened ten years ago.
Look back on your past decade: how was it? Walk down memory lane in your head, through your journals and photo albums, reviewing and reflecting on how your life played out the past ten years.
What were some of the best and worst moments of each year?
What were the memorable moments and photos and stories?
What big events happened?
Where did you travel to?
What new skills or passions did you pick up on the way?
What new people came into your life and where are they now?
How have you grown in the past ten years?
What goals and dreams have you achieved in that time?
Most importantly: how happy are you now, and what things have contributed to your happiness/unhappiness?
You will be surprised to find the amount of content ten years can contain and how remarkable the amount of change is possible in ten years. It makes you wonder what the next decade has in store for you; what exciting journeys and meetings, what joys and sorrows, what growth and improvements await you?
One of the things that mankind has been fascinated with throughout history is the concept of an apocalypse or doomsday. Just in the last decade, there have been no less than fifty claims that the world would end on a certain day. The most famous of these include Nostradamus’ prediction that the world would end on July 1999, the Y2K problem that suggested that the year 2000 would cause all computers to malfunction, and many claims that a certain date would be the Rapture – the second coming of Christ and the end of the world. The latest of these doomsday predictions is the one regarding the Mayan calendar. There are claims that on the 21st of December, 2012, the Mayan calendar finishes its 5125-year cycle, leading to a cataclysmic event that will destroy the universe. But of course as usual, this theory is complete and utter nonsense.
Firstly, there are no records that the Mayans predicted that the world would be doomed when the cycle would finish. It is true that December 2012 marks the end of a b’ak’tun – a time period in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar equating to about 394 years, much like how we measure 1000 years by 1 millennium. Essentially, it is like a “turn of the century” for the Mayans. Pretty much the entire concept of the Mayan calendar ending bringing doom to us all was fabricated by some shoddy academics and New Age believers.
Secondly, every theory about how the world might end in such a scenario has been disproven. Some of the most popular “theories” were: the collision of a Planet X or “Nibiru” with Earth, geomagnetic reversal and galactic alignments. However, to this date (20th December, 2012), there are no large rocks or planets hurtling directly towards Earth (would have been noticed by thousands of astronomers worldwide months prior), the magnetic poles are stable (even if they switched it would not cause much harm) and there are no alignments between planets, moons or stars scheduled at the time.
No matter how crazy the theories and predictions are, there will always be people claiming that the world will end soon, and that we should repent our sins or something like that. Even better, there will be a significant amount of people who believe it or at least worry enough about it to affect their lives somehow.
Perhaps the most fitting quote for this phenomenon is something that Martin Luther wrote in his diary at a young age: “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree”. Whether the world is ending or not, live your life to the fullest, seizing every day and making the most of your chances.