My mother has been interested in the occult since, uh, forever I guess. We have been discussing Earth changes since probably the early nineties - we were ahead of the Y2K curve a fair amount
I have been in spiritual conflict with God and myself most of my life, and all of it that I can recollect fully. Life can do that to you sometimes, or maybe I was just born with a dim brain that is too deep. As a result, I am an agnostic leaning atheist, yet reserve some space for the possibility of a creator and an unknown. There is too much mystery for me, even in this age of science, to completely shut the door on the divine, albeit I have certainly shrugged off the major religion's conception of God as poorly thought out man-made mind-control. Well, I digress.
As for 2012 stuff, having known about the Mayans and their long count since the early 90s, I have looked at 2012 for quite some time, with great interest. Mostly because I hope to see something happen that is meaningful in my lifetime - I look at our modern society as pathetically shallow, full of sheep, with a few wicked shepherds, needing something major to either wake us up or deservingly wipe us out.
I look at the 2012 stuff from a purely scientific standpoint, which still leaves plenty of room for bad potentialities (of course, will the sun rise tomorrow?), but at least is grounded in things tangible to me, ie: the cosmic alignment. Being primarily atheistic in my views, my mother and I look at things from quite opposite perspectives, she being highly New Age sprititual, a believer in all sorts of outlandish things, from aliens to Indigo children to... the FORCE. (couldn't resist)
We make good counterparts - we look at the same problems, and see very different causes or justifications or elements. I think her POV provides me with good pause - some of the New Age stuff just sounds cool, and would be wonderful were it to be true. Also, a lot of it is written well, by intelligent people who can make strong arguments. Not perfect, but I don't see a lot of perfect arguments.
To answer your question, urluckyday, conversations of this sort have been happening since I first read the Lord of the Rings as a ten year old, way back in 82.