I find myself considerably out-of-sorts this New Year’s Eve. If you’re a regular Tower reader (thank you!), you’ve no doubt noticed that I’ve been ignoring this blog; I haven’t done anything for Blogcritics in about a month, either. It’s hard for me to write about national/world affairs that I’m normally passionate about, or other subjects that generally interest me, when I’m in a funk and feeling as if I don’t particularly care about anything. My apologies if I’ve disappointed you.
My mood aside, I feel inclined to end 2009 – a year I’m not going to miss – by adding one final post here, and will, hopefully, return to Blogcritics soon, too. I’m supposed to be writing an ongoing feature on broadcast journalism, but the content of the news over the past couple of months has been too dispiriting for me to stand back from and analyze.
In the past, for many, many years, I used to spend New Year’s Eve assessing the pros and cons of the past year, and will take this opportunity to do so again tonight. On a personal level, 2009 really wasn’t too bad: no major illnesses or injuries; I maintained this blog (for the most part), and began to reach beyond it by hooking up with Blogcritics and Twitter – all that was good. A few personal, health, financial and legal issues, but nothing I couldn’t/can’t handle. I do count my blessings and concede they are many; it’s really churlish of me to complain, but I can’t help feeling as I do.
The big story for me, as it was for millions of others, was watching Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress become a bigger and bigger disappointment with each passing day: bad decisions/legislation, no decisions/legislation, lack of vision, gridlock, broken promises; and a newer, bigger, even more senseless war. I went into the year with such a sense of hope and excitement, only to have that enthusiasm dashed. Did all this happen because Obama was insincere from the start, or, because despite his best intentions, the enormity of the problems he faced, combined with rabid opposition from the other team and a fractious lack of cooperation from his own, made any other result impossible? I guess 2010 will provide greater indications.
Then there was that pile-up of deaths of notable figures. This happens every year, but 2009 took some especially special people – and not just the big names we can all cite off the tops of our heads, but lesser-known yet vitally-important people; the arts and sciences took especially significant hits in 2009. And I won’t even go into detail about The Economy: everybody suffered in one way or another.
Looking ahead, I can’t at the moment muster up any really positive hopes for the new year, but the one thing that can always be relied on is that there will be both pleasant and unpleasant surprises, for each of us individually and all of us collectively. One of the few things I’m pleased about right now is that the first decade of the new century is over (I say this with a knowing nod to those who believe that won’t actually be the case until 2011…); we’ve survived it. And from hereon in we can stop saying “two thousand…whatever” and start saying “20…whatever.” I like the sound of that better and it reminds me that when I think of the 1900s, I have to remember how different each decade was from the one before and the one that followed, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, but so much happened in the 20th century; the world changed wildly throughout it. Change is always hard, but sometimes (resist them though I do) the new things really are better.
What can we look forward to in 2010 and the new decade? I’m psychic, but I don’t know (for those of you who don’t believe in spooky stuff, I should explain that even people with extraordinary intuition and perception can’t read the future like a map; it doesn’t work that way). So I’m hoping that both the year, the decade and I will all turn out better than I feel tonight.
I also hope that your own hurts will heal, your own fears will go unrealized; that your positive plans will pan out and all surprises will be pleasant ones.
All we can do is hope for the best, try our hardest, and roll with the punches. That’s what endings and beginnings are all about, always, regardless the year or decade or century, who’s in charge, who lives or dies. That’s life. So Happy New Year to all and to all a good night.