According to many New Age believers, the 2012 prophecy states that the world as we know it will end on December 21, 2012. This is not a new phenomena; as landmark dates draw near, end-of-the-world theories creep out of the woodwork with astonishing popularity. People love this armageddon stuff.
And yet, we're still here.
I don't consider 2012 to be one of the true unexplained mysteries... far from it. Yet many people are really into this one. So let's look at the idea more closely.
The theory is based on the idea that when the ancient Mayans plotted our position in the Milky Way, they created a special astrological calendar. And on the Winter Solstice (in the Northern hemisphere) in 2012, the Earth would pass into a new astrological phase and something dramatic would happen - ie the world ends.
Unfortunately for Mayan fans, there is no real-life evidence to support the idea that the alignment of planets in relation to distant star constellations viewed from our Earthly perspective has anything to do with day-to-day changes in your personal life. It's about as scientifically reliable as reading your horoscope. (In my days as a freelance writer, I once turned down a job to write horoscopes for a magazine. When I asked how I was supposed to obtain the predictions - they essentially told me to make it up.)
Real Mayan scholars report that there is no evidence to show that the Mayans ever made any kind of doomsday prophecy. Merely, that calendars keep track of the passage of time - they do not predict the future. So, the Mayan calendar - like all calendars - simply had to end somewhere. Not only does it end, but it begins again in a new cycle, just as your calendar ends on December 31 and begins again on January 1.
While your life may come to an abrupt end any time, any day, without warning, there is very little you can do about it. One thing is for sure: our society, like all civilizations before us, is geared to postulate over end-of-the-world mysteries with gusto.