Those who know me know I’m what I call an “anniversary girl.” It derives itself from the fact that I have, good and bad, a propensity for recalling dates. Even innocuous ones. A friend of mine once described himself as “a repository of useless information.” To other friends, I could easily share that moniker myself.
For that reason, I guess, though I am Christian by tradition and certainly appreciate December 25 and all the symbolism we attach to the time of the winter equinox, it’s New Year’s Eve that elicits more of an emotional response in me. Maybe it’s because the man-made concept of time is a convenient way to contain and process the passage of our lives, a way to put a wrapper around a section and put it aside—not too far in case we need something but out of our constant view—a way to encapsulate and catalogue our experiences, both joyful and painful.
New Year’s Eve has always been filled with anticipation for me—an anticipation for things to be better in the coming year than they were in the last, no matter how “awe full” or awful I’ve perceived the events and experiences of the year before to have been. This one is particularly interesting to me. New Year’s Eve 2012 is the 10th day of the 13th baktun of the Mayan Long Count Calendar, expressed thusly: 18.104.22.168.10. Today, December 29, 2012, is 22.214.171.124.8. (It’s actually the 14th baktun, but to enter into that discussion is to re-open the argument of whether the last century ended in 1999 or 2000, or whether babies are actually 0 years old until that first birthday rolls around. Which, in turn, brings up a more pertinent question for me: “If you wear a Size 0, does that mean you’re invisible?”)
A baktun is a cycle of 144,000 of our 24-hour solar-revolution days, which means that to be alive at the end (or beginning) of a cycle is serendipitously amazing. The executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. (FAMSI), said, “For the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle.” I much prefer that idea over the recently suggested (and fortunately inaccurate) one that the world itself would end on December 21, and I would give a nod to her since she knows a helluva lot more about the Mayan civilization than I do.
I prefer it not because the world didn’t explode, but because it simultaneously gives me a sense of personal hope for the future and a reminder of my relative insignificance in the grand scheme of things. Given that we can’t imagine what the humans of 2407 will be like, the originators of the long count calendar back in 3114 BC (BCE) had no idea I was coming, either. The fact that I’ve apparently made it through 2012 has, therefore, been no world-changing accomplishment to anyone except me. And, hopefully, the few other organic grains of sand I’ve had the pleasure to encounter in my 20,217 days thus far.
Yet, I believe, too, as Jesus and the Psalmist suggested, that we are each known by something far greater than any of us can conceive of or name, and that is enough. After all, think of it! I was here at the beginning of a century, and now I’ve seen the turn of a baktun. What more could I ask for?
May 2013 be all you create it to be…and then some.