It’s always hard to fathom another year being put in the books. Often, the end of the year is filled with remorse, regret and a resolve to do better during the coming year. I’m no different than many in that I’ve made my share of stupid resolutions—some years I even wrote them down!
I’ll not bore you with any resolutions this year. For the first time in many years and possibly in my 42 years on the planet, I reach the end of a year without any significant personal regrets.
For the past year, I’ve moved in a direction that has been positive for me. Last January, I left a cubicle in corporate America to pursue writing as my vocation, instead of hobby. While I’ve made less money this year than during any previous one, I can honestly say I’m happier than I’ve ever been, although my happiness might be another man’s (or woman’s) dismay.
I’ve come to recognize personally, rather than intellectually, that “things” don’t make you happy. Happiness, as elusive as it may be, comes from the people you surround yourself with, the choices you make to embrace your inner self, or creative muse (or whatever you want to call it, without sounding like some New Age crank); some might call it living intuitively versus depending entirely upon over analysis in all that you do.
While I certainly have things I’d like to do better in 2005, or improvements that I’d like to make; things like losing ten pounds, getting an article (s) published in a national magazine, being a little more focused on others rather than myself, I’m not going to obsess or beat myself up about them. I’m learning to be comfortable in my own skin and I hope you are too.
I’d like to end this soliloquy with my list of the people and things I appreciate from 2004:
My wife and lifelong partner, Mary (props and mad love), my son Mark (may you have fun at life), my dog (and walking partner) Bernie, blogging, books, Atrios, libraries, Jose Ayerve, Paul at FACE, the Millers (#1 family), DrFrag (tech guru), Matt Newberg (plus Jeff, Darren, Greg and of course, Norm!), AirAmerica, civil discourse, Reny’s, Sally at APL, my uncle Bob, old time baseball, Clif Bars, drivers who slow down, asfo_del(your writing rocks!), Chuck Munson and Infoshop, WFMU, Mike Lupica, Joe Belock, Irene Trudel, PBR, local music, free pubs, The Pigeon (RIP), indie bookstores, South Park, John Stewart, CSpan, Fair Trade Coffee, Chicky’s Diner, Orion Magazine, Derrick Jensen, Wendell Berry, The Movies, Neil Young, Trudy Chambers Price, used records, Twilight Baseball (Al and Frankie), the baseball guys, Wisdom Weasel, the Hartleys, and all the little and not so little things that make life worth living.
The Not-So-Good, The Bad, and The Ugly:
The war in Iraq, tsunamis, governments that lie, obfuscate and mislead, power, George Bush, Dick Cheney, Rummy, Britney Spears, reality TV, stupid people, faux patriotism, Tim Russert and the other corporate media hacks, Bill O’Reilly (sucks), drivers who don’t slow down (and talk on cell phones), Wal-Mart, chain stores, Sinclair Broadcasting, greedy rich bastards, professional sports, The Portland Press Herald, capitalism run amok, ideologues, publications who don’t pay on time, asshole editors, kitsch, lousy parents, boorish kids, sweatshops, former co-workers/"friends" too self-absorbed to answer your emails, Desperate Housewives, selfish people, strip malls, inequality, gentrification, yuppies, SUV’s, military spending, and all the other things that rob us of our life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Happy New Year! May 2005 be a year when people matter more than profit, where talent and creativity are rewarded, and where nature and its creatures are protected instead of paved over. May peace be the norm, rather than the exception!