By DAMIAN MANN
If Stacy Spence's prediction holds true, the end of the world as we know it looks pretty good.
"We are going to have greater consciousness and be more aware and open to the universe," the 36-year-old Medford acupuncturist said. "It's not about craziness, it's about heart space."
Many local residents are ready to party or joke about predictions that the world will end Friday, while others such as Spence don't see it as the end but as a change or transformation.
Even NASA has weighed in on the debate, pronouncing on its website that the world will not end on Dec. 21, which also is the winter solstice.
While some predict doom and gloom for Friday based on interpretations of the Mayan calendar, Spence sees an opportunity for a better world as we enter the Age of Aquarius, though, she said, some might resist the change.
"It's a big moment in evolution," she said. "People who are in a fear paradigm will experience more of a chaos transition."
Spence said she planned to attend an ascension gathering at Mount Shasta to celebrate the dawn of the new age.
Rob Nutting, a 46-year-old White City resident, had similar views to Spence.
"In my social sphere, we're thinking it may not be the end of the world, but a paradigm shift," he said.
Nutting said he plans to go to a sweat lodge on Friday as he envisions major changes for humanity in the future.
Not everybody had such a noble vision in mind.
"I'm probably just going to get up and go to work," said Nick Stine, a 42-year-old Grants Pass mason as he was setting bricks in Medford Wednesday. "Remember all the hullabaloo about Y2K? I just don't think anything's going to happen."
"Y2K" is a reference to calendar year 2000, when many predicted massive computer failures because software would not be able to recognize the year as it moved beyond the 1990s.
Stine's co-worker, 62-year-old Rogue River resident Craig Costello, said, "I'll probably work Friday and Saturday."
He said his daughter studied the Mayan calendar, and said she ultimately determined the Friday date could all be a miscalculation about the end of time.
"I think it's probably not going to happen," he said.
For some, the dire predictions just aren't to be taken seriously.
"We like poking fun at the end-of-the-world parties," said Kira Willman, 19, of Chico.
Willman said she traveled on a church mission last summer to Guatemala where she saw Mayan temples and talked to the local people. "They said they're just starting a new calendar," she said.
Willman and her sister, 21-year-old Kelsey, plan to go to a party celebrating the day after the end of the world on Saturday.
"There's so much hype about the end of the world," Kelsey said. "I guess, according to the Bible, we're technically in end times, but I hope not."
The Willman sisters, who were at the Medford library Wednesday, say they will probably just read a book on the day the world is supposed to end.
The end-of-the-world talk has inspired frivolity more than anything else.
"There's a whole group of parties," said Drai Beveridge, a 24-year-old Medford resident.
He said he would get together with his friends and listen to music. "I'm just going to be kicking back," he said.
Beveridge said most of his friends don't believe the world will end, though some have joked about a zombie apocalypse.
Priscilla Atkins, 24, of Shady Cove, said she and her friends don't take the predictions seriously.
"If I knew the world was going to end, I would just party it up," Atkins said.
Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email email@example.com.
This story originally appeared in Medford Mail Tribune.