The End of the World?! Say It Ain't So!

(Let's just pretend this is a picture of Earth...)
A question came across my desk via an email recently, asking what Wiccans think of this whole End of the World thing.  Why the question was aimed at Wiccans and not Pagans in general (it was a Pagan email list) is a mystery to me, but it has caused me to explore what I think, as a Wiccan, about this possible scenario.  I have to say that I came to the conclusion a long time ago that "It ain't so."  How? 
How do I know this?  I don't know this for sure. No one does, except for the Gods.  I suppose it's possible they're sending us clues and maybe we're too dense to get it or that we just don't want to believe, but whatever the situation is, I just do not believe that the world will end on Yule 2012.
I do believe we are on the cusp of great change, however. I don't know what this change will look like, nor do I believe it will happen quickly.  I am hoping it will be positive change, but with the positive will come some negative, as balance must always be maintained. 
Since, in my opinion, we are looking at change, rather than a literal end, I am asking myself, "How will I move forward?  How will I dance with this change?" 
I am learning to become more open and flexible. I am someone who thrives on schedules and routines.  As a woman who tries to do way too much at once, I'd be lost without a plan.  I am learning to relax this a bit and to be better about rolling with changes.  As an example, I'll share something that happened when we were on vacation in Delaware over the summer. (It's actually a little embarrassing, looking back!)  We went at a time when we were pretty sure the beaches weren't going to be too crowded.  Well, we misjudged a bit!  The day we went to Rehoboth, I had it in my mind that it wouldn't be very crowded, and we'd get a nice spot not too close to the water, but with a good view of it.  When we showed up, it was packed, and I'm afraid I had a bit of a conniption.  I did manage to calm down quickly, but that was totally unnecessary.  I'm not sure what I thought was going to happen (I do recall feeling as if I was going to suffocate--it's social anxiety and claustrophobia,) but whatever it was, it didn't happen, and we ended up having a nice day at the beach in spite of me. 
Since then, I have been taking small steps to overcome my need for rigid structure and my social anxiety.  I ask salespeople for help if I'm out shopping and can't find something. I say "hello" to a stranger every once in a while.  This weekend, I took the huge step of making my neighbors bread and taking it over to them without calling to see if they wanted visitors. (It worked out well.)
I have also been avoiding planning a day that's completely open.  It used to be that if I had free time, I'd work up a schedule to fill up that time.  I don't do that now.  Instead, I look at my big picture--What projects could be finished with this extra time?  What can be cleaned, purged, organized?  What leisurely activity could I do just for me today?  It's very freeing.  I don't know why I have been so afraid of unstructured time in the past.
I am learning to live more independently of "the system."  We have a very tiny yard, but all of it is dedicated to growing food.  We used to have a little space where we could set up a table and eat out in the yard, but a year or two ago, I agreed that my boyfriend could tear up the backyard and put in beds everywhere. Now, it's all food with stepping stones throughout.  We also have a clothesline strung along the fence. Thanks to his gardening expertise, I have learned how to maximize the use of a very small space.  We grow food completely without chemicals. We start with organic seed stock, and we save our own seeds.  It's true, the garden does not meet all of our needs, but it meets at least a third of them.  With a bigger yard, we could probably meet all of our needs, and we hope to move to a bigger property in the next few years.  I only use a bank, because of the house and other bills. I would love to not have to use banks, but that's not realistic for me right now.  I could live without using banks, however, if I had to.  We do not have TV service.  We do have Internet service, and I admit that living without that would be harder.  We do not shop retail, typically.  We only eat out about twice a month. We make most of the food we eat at home from scratch.  I am looking into ways to do more by hand (ie, fewer gadgets.)  We know where to get water, how to purify it, and what to do when there is no power.  We are by no means survivalists or "preppers," but we know how to take care of ourselves.  This is comforting.
I am trying to further my education about all manner of things.  In time, I am hoping to be able to go back to college and finish up and possibly even pursue advance degrees. Unfortunately, that is not financially feasible for me at this time.  I read.  A lot. I talk to people. I go to round tables and talks and seminars.  ...And I read some more.  It's the best I can do right now, but the important thing is I keep learning.
I am trying to be more open to my dreams and better about writing them down, as I believe that the Dreamtime holds a lot of information that we miss in everyday life.  Dreams perform myriad functions for us, psychologically, but I also know that they help us in our spiritual and magical lives.  Cultures across the world reference the realm of  Dreams in their Deep Work and have been doing so for a very long time. I have also gotten much of my artistic inspiration from my dreams.  I believe that in paying attention to my dreams, I will be able to better navigate whatever change is coming and will find answers that may not be clear in the waking world.
I am going to rededicate and try to be the best Priestess I can be.  I was on the Path well before I found and joined my first Coven.  Though it is much harder, as a solitary practitioner, to get a good grounding in Wicca, it is possible. Through self-study, I did get the basics.  I self-dedicated at Yule 1991.  Naked before the Gods, in a Circle cast with Tarot cards, I spoke my intention, and it was heard.  A few years later, I found my first Coven, and through them, I attained my Second Degree.  I was released (if I remember correctly) in 2003 as a Second Degree.  Very soon, I will be re-dedicating. I did recently explore, very briefly, finding a new Coven; however, I came to the conclusion that now is not the time. I am not finished with my current course of study. 
Re-dedicating will motivate me to focus back on Wicca, which is truly what I want to do.  I have been eclectic for a very long time, but I am "craving the Old."  I feel that my Work in the world is related to my role as a Wiccan priestess (not High Priestess--I do not claim titles that don't belong to me. I want to be very clear about this!)  My re-dedication will put my feet back on that Path, I feel.
I am trying to be more open to people, so that I can help and advise when that is needed.  Though I'm not really an expert on much of anything, I do  have skills and knowledge that others don't have (as do we all.)  I am trying to get past all of my social hangups and just be here for people when they need someone or something. 
In short, I am working on myself, so that I can be a better vessel for the Gods as we all face this change that is coming at us.
As I said to a friend of mine recently, even if the world were going to just end, there would be nothing we could do about it, so why not just go on living? ...And that is what I intend to do. I intend to go on living, in the best way that I know how, so that if the end does come, I can move on knowing that I walked the Path I was meant to walk and walked it in a good way.
Blessed Yule.
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