It seems like I just did this. No? That was a whole year ago, you say? Well, whatever.
Oddly enough — though not because they are looking for my personal introspection — this new years list thing I do each year has become something of a honeypot for Googlers looking for, well, new years list ideas. I don’t know why — for exact, precise certainty — but there are a handful of search words that bring random information seekers to my blog looking for questions — I suppose — to populate their own new years lists. (The proper credit though is completely random: At one point the original arrived in my email box, and you might see by looking at my first installment in 2005/2006 that the answers for that installment were a lot shorter.)
But then why not? Why not go looking for some kind of backwards perspective on one day of the year? That’s part of what new years is about: looking somewhere other than the moment, be that backwards or forwards, or straight up in the air. Navel gazers have the other three hundred and sixty four days, while we philosophers get this one.
You may ask: Do you sit down and write ALL DAY on the last day of the year to get such a comprehensive list. And I’d reply: no. Actually, I started this back in November and have methodically picked away at the answers here and there. You don’t get a fifty-nine-hundred-plus word post in an afternoon. But the bigger question you may ask: why? And do you expect us to read this narcissistic nonsense? And for that, well, I’d probably answer “why not?” on both counts… or whatever. I do it because I enjoy reflecting and if you enjoy reading, then read on. Else… whatever.
Either way, here goes…
What did you do in 2009 that you\’d never done before?
Everything. Nothing. Much. Little. What can I say? Do you want to read about the FIRST half-marathon I ran in August stumbling my way across the finish line with a so-so time, but a complete none-the-less? How about the FIRST sink I installed, the plumbing results now happily dwelling in the deep corners of our completed basement? Or, perhaps you’d like to start this post reading about something more epic such as our FIRST grand experiment in trying to potty train a two-year-old? Less epic? How about the … well, there are too many to name. I like trying new things.
What did you do in 2009 that you hope you never do again?
Back in October when the high of the local H1N1 pandemic scare was rocking across the province, I jumped on the metaphorical vaccination bandwagon. Had we not been traveling a few weeks later I would have delayed our shots until the fever-pitch fervor flopped, but alas, a trip to the US was due and no one knew where the panic was headed. As a result, Claire (The Vaccination-Trooper-Extraordinaire) and I stood in line for nearly four hours waiting for our dose. Am I hoping we never need another shot? No. I’m hoping I don’t need to live through a pandemic panic again… or, at least one so poorly organized.
Did you keep your new years\’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
And how. Well, mostly. My big resolution that I hung onto for the year was the KM PER DAY goal tied into my running. I passed the three hundred and sixty-five kilometer mark sometime over the summer whilst training fro the half marathon and didn’t really look back. I think the final tally was somewhere around 600 KM this year. Not bad for an old guy.
More for this year? As I posted yesterday the new ones (as usual) flutter around creativity time and some fitness goals. Surprised? Thought not.
Did anyone close to you give birth this year?
Yet again, another smattering of births marked the year and while many are close to us and deserving of the usual congratulations, none would have been quite so close as the little guy mentioned in the next question. I’ll leave it at that.
Did anyone close to you die this year?
I’m sure it is public knowledge by now, but I should at least give mention to our nephew who, given to an unfortunate series of traumatic events around his birth this summer, didn’t pull through for long enough to meet most of the family, including myself. There will be a hole there for a very long time, I’m sure.
What countries did you visit this year?
Back in July, Karin and I sent Claire on an adventure with her grandparents while we jetted off to Vegas. The trip was mostly tied in with my attendance at The Amazing Meeting 7, but we also took some time to explore the strip, see a show, and eat very, very well. It was great, but I still don’t like the desert heats: mid-forties Celsius? I mean, c’mon!
At the beginning of December we opted for another trip stateside, this time with Claire and her grandparents in tow. And this time for a much more family-oriented trip to Disneyland. Or, as Claire referred to it for the month preceding the plane ride, “Minnie’s House.” We arrived in the temperate climes of Southern California, did the parks to a greater extent than any of us had anticipated, eating too much, walking too much, and generally spending too much. Claire loved the rides, shied away from the characters, and danced in the streets. Her mom and I lapped it all up through the eyes of two year old, and regretted the trip home — particularly since there was two feet freshly fallen of snow waiting for us that evening.
What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
Either a sense of purpose or a sense of hope for the future. Either one. I’m not picky.
What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory because they made you…? And why?
a) happy: August 16th at a few minutes past the last struggled step across the finish line at the Intact Half Marathon in downtown Edmonton. You might think it made me feel victorious, but really I was just happy to be DONE.
b) sad: One day in early September when we all drove to Calgary to wait for sad news.
c) defeated: April 8th. Because sometimes it doesn’t matter if you worked hard, stayed honest, and were on the side of right. There are bullies everywhere, and he with the most pals can take something good and rot it from the inside, if he so desires. And the world sucks after you see it that way first hand.
d) victorious: Somewhere around the middle of June, the 14th if memory serves, there was a bit of a chaotic moment when Karin walked into the house amidst a flutter of activity that was her surprise birthday party. And the expression on her face…
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Just like in 2008, some of the high points and achievements of 2009 are going to circle — in great leaping strides — around my running adventures. I apologize in advance, but that’s how it goes… again.
One may recall that at this time last year I was proudly trotting on bi-weekly five(ish) kilometer jogs. It was nothing to balk at: going from nothing to five kilometers was nearly as difficult as what I did this year. By January I had signed up for the ten kilometer clinic, spending a few long winter evenings building up my endurance through blowing snow and bitter cold. I also made fast friends with many of my co-runners, and having had such great success with that I was eagerly convinced to try my legs at a half marathon clinic. Enrolled there, I blazed through the ten kilometer mark by May, running longer and further than ever before in my life, and by July I was spending my Sunday mornings wending sixteen, eighteen and even twenty kilometer slogs through the city’s river valley, preparing for a peak performance half-marathon — twenty-one point one clicks — in mid-August. I ran the half, and that particular feat was achieved in a little over two hours and twenty minutes. Yes, far from amazing, but completed none-the-less.
What was your biggest failure of the year?
It probably seems minor from an external perspective, but I started early in the year on a very ambitious writing project. I called it “The Data Yodeler” and it was making good ground… until I lost focus and pushed myself a little too hard. The project derailed and about a third of the way to completion slumped into hibernation. I liked the idea — and the first half of what I did was some of my better work — but I need to retool a bit and go back to it. Someday. For now, though: epic fail.
Did you suffer illness, injury, or other physical setbacks in 2009?
The week before I was supposed to run my second half-marathon in November I got quite sick — semi-lucid, and prone-on-the-couch kind of sick — and whatever it happened to be (a flu, stomach bug, or whatever, I’ll never know) I was in no shape to be running to the mailbox let alone twenty-one clicks in soon-winter Calgary. So yeah: illness = both physical setback and a big disappointment.
How did you make money in 2009? How might you briefly describe to others what you do for a living?
In some ways I’ve always thought it would be a lot easier to have a job that everyone else inherently understands. For example, if I were a doctor or a lawyer or an entrepreneur I could just say “I am a [insert job title here]” and everyone would just say, “okay, sure.” Instead, I’ve found myself in a job that is slightly more complex to explain. At one level I could tell you that I’m a project manager. But then if that doesn’t exactly cut it for you, you might ask: “So, what kind of project do you manage.” To this question, I’d be forced to go into some detail about the exact nature of the organization I work for, telling you that we’re something of a non-profit, non-government organization. I’d tell you a little bit about our mandate with regard to the industry we work in, and then probably nudge you along with a few details about the very vertical nature of our internal structure, explaining that we’re all sort of working towards similar goals but do so through a series of (nearly) independent business lines, each with a kind-of sub-goal and unique set of parameters. I’d then get to the goodies and relate that, in fact, I run one of those lines with a frugal little budget, and make sure every end of the business from budgeting, production, communications and marketing to general management of the work goes smoothly. If that went over your head, I might take a step back and say something like: “I manage a couple websites, sit at a desk writing and editing content most every day, and travel around to meetings and events to work with the any and all the people it impacts from funders to the folks who type the URL into their browser.” I just tell Claire I work at a computer.
Where did most of your money go?
Oddly enough, in the bank. Strange, aren’t we? Yeah, we made some significant purchases this year, but the spirit of the recession turned us into economic squirrels and in the wake of a double-digit dip in our investments we were stuffing cash into savings and clearing away the little bit of debt we had. Oh, and still paying that mortgage, though ya gotta love 1.5% interest rates on that.
What was the best thing you bought?
Having lined up for the H1N1 vaccine with Claire one chilly October morning (see: things I hope not to ever repeat, back a few paragraphs) I didn’t exactly expect the girl to be particularly well behaved. To my surprise she was not only the best tempered kid in line, but she took the shot like a trooper (The Vaccination-Trooper-Extraordinaire, in fact). Four hours of patience from a kid under ideal circumstances is amazing. Under those circumstances it was astonishing. I don’t know how it fits into any particular parenting rulebook, per se, but I felt grateful enough that I stopped by the toy store that night and bought a very cuddly Dora the Explorer doll for the girl and surprised her just before bedtime with the gift. If any other doll has received as much TLC as that one, I’d probably equally astonished.
What was your biggest waste of money in 2009?
Water. It was a dry, dry year here in Central Alberta, and it seemed that no matter how much water I sprayed onto the various vegetation in my care, at the end of the summer it didn’t really amount to much. The grass was still yellow, the garden barely produced anything but weeds, and the rare flowers that graced our plots didn’t last more than a few days. In the the best of years I spray water — fresh, clean, potable water — onto my yard with a heavy conscious, but this year even more so as it seemed such a waste and of such negligible (or even negative) impact to the world as a whole.
Whose behavior, actions, or achievements merited celebration?
Mom and Dad who have covered more globetrotting ground together in the last year than they have in their whole life prior. And, of course, made the rest of us extremely jealous in the process.
Whose behavior or actions made you appalled and depressed?
I’ve had my eyes pried wide open on the foul depths to which human nature will plunge when business is tight but egos still float free. I’ve seen people for whom I would have claimed respect for this time last year exhibit petty and selfish behavior wrapped inside ruthless self-interest. If you think you know who I’m talking about, you may — or you may not. I’m being deliberately cryptic and acutely vague, though I could easily make a list of names — yes, a list — if I so desired. But I won’t and well leave it at that. Sad, depressing, and deeply disappointing, folks.
What did you get really excited about?
Moving into our new basement. Hooking up my new office. Hanging the awesome wallpaper we ordered from the UK. Networking the house. And organizing our junk in closets that a little more than a year ago were nothing more than taped out geometries on the concrete floor.
What is one thing from 2009 that you endured in boredom and impatience?
Politics. And I’m not referring to the big-P Politics of far-away capital cities, though that tests me sometimes too. What I’m just about done with is the small-p politics of wannabe big fish in surprisingly small ponds, particularly when there don’t seem to be many other ponds accepting new fish at the moment.
What three books/movies/songs/stories/art will always remind you of 2009?
1) Sesame Street. The show turned forty late this year, and while I hadn’t watched it in the twenty-five years since my own youth, Claire has taken quite a liking to the current episodes. We watch it together. How multi-generational is that?
2) Anything Disney. And if you think this is too vague, consider that in preparation for our December family vacation we both dusted off and add to our collection of vast variety of videos starring everyone’s favorite corporate mascots. By the time we went on our trip Claire was very familiar with a hefty repertoire of characters — and her dad was on the brink of Disninsanity. (Is that even a word? If not, it should be.)
3) In deep contrast the previous entries, anything with zombies. Zombieland, I Am Legend, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, World War Z, The Last Guy… and so, so, so many others somehow found their way onto my entertainment list in 2009 and kept me fairly entertained over the course of the year. Can anyone say “braaaaaaaaaaains…?”
What three websites will always remind you of 2009?
1) www.audible.com because my addiction to audiobooks, strange as you might consider it to be, has never had a stronger grip on me.
2) www.twitter.com because at one point I was nursing five separate Twitter accounts. And I was so busy tweeting I forgot to do things worth tweeting about. So I haven’t tweeted much lately, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
3) Google Wave, because I still don’t know what the heck it’s for… and really? How can you use a site for over a month and still not know why you’re using it?
What was the best book or story that you read and what was your greatest literary discovery for 2009?
That’s a tough one. I read Neal Stephenson’s new book, Anathem, twice I loved it so much. I finally finished the entire Hyperion cantos, albeit on audiobook, and those were just plain awesomeness. And Cormac Mccarthy’s The Road has haunted me since I ploughed through it in a weekend of time, hanging there as a definitive statement on the insanity of fatherhood. But I think in terms of sheer discovery, it was picking up Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother and realizing as I read it that the philosophy of the story extended beyond the pages of the book, and that the author himself is one of those folks who — maybe not until decades from now — will be recalled as “the father of [insert creative content meme here]” and we can all say that we remember when… So, in that respect, Little Brother was a better than average story but poked to the top of my list (and memory) by simple factors of ahead-of-its-timeness.
What was your favorite television program in 2009?
Having caught up with season one in preparation to hear one of the producers speak about it at TAM7 in Vegas, I got hooked on The Big Bang Theory. On deeper reflection, and as I re-watch select episodes on my iPod, I realize that the sitcom is deeply lacking in both (a) cultural/gender sensitivity and (b) hope for any long-term serious or critical regard. But it is something like candy: sweet and bad for me, but nice to have on occasion.
What was your favorite film in 2009?
It was a bad year for movies. I re-watched a lot, and only made it to the theater twice. But that second time: Zombieland. Awesome.
Compared to this time last year, you are:
a) happier or sadder? Generally sadder… and for a lot of reasons. There are some tough times ahead — at least it seems that way. But, of course, it’s all relative. No one can be truly sad with a great family like mine keeping me company.
b) thinner or fatter? Definitely thinner. Running treated me well, I’d say.
c) richer or poorer? I feel poorer, but probably richer. The recession seemed to take a bite out of everyone’s confidence, but we’ve been saving far more than we’ve been spending. Ask me again tomorrow and I’ll probably have a different answer.
d) focused or distracted? Distracted. The running has helped, but the whole world of being a responsible adult with a stable income and good parenting skills has not.
e) responsible or irresponsible? Responsible, though that might just be me saying I FEEL I am at a place where I need to be more responsible. I don’t know for certain that I actually am.
What do you wish you\’d done more of?
Let loose the creative demon. I started the year well, writing and drawing. But the last couple of months — well, actually since about May — I’ve been in a slump. Sigh.
What do you wish you\’d done less of?
Glazed over mindless at the television. And, while I really do get the irony of that statement given a new television plus new a PVR plus a new media server plus lots of video games does not equal less time glazed over at the television, but I would argue it’s less a statement of convenience and more a statement of my recent mental state. See my 2010 resolutions for the duct-taped solution to said problem.
How did you spend the holiday season?
At home for once. Rather than running about the province, the province came to us and for a span of about six days — with a few scattered breaks here and there — we were either entertaining, preparing for entertaining, or — of course — cleaning up from all the entertaining. Karin’s family showed up right around the holiday while my family showed up a couple days later in turn. It was all good and I ate way too much. Go figure.
How do you plan to (or, how did you) spend New Years Eve and New Years Day?
New Years Eve shaped up pretty mellow. It was bitterly cold and we hunkered down for most of the day in the house. I played some video games. Karin worked the morning from home in her pajamas, a touch of a cold sneaking up on her. Claire played by herself and didn’t care what day it happened to be. New Years Evening was spent making a homemade pizza and later some olen bolen (my family’s “traditional” New Years Eve deep fried treat) before taking in the eight o’clock fireworks at our local park and then cuddling up for a mostly quiet wander towards midnight.
The plan for New Years Day is the exact same as last year: Kicking the general fitness plan off right once again, come cold or snow, and running a quick five kilometer race with a few hundred other crazy Edmontonians. Resolution Run 2010! After that, likely sitting and playing video games. Or, one could hope.
Did you fall in love in 2009?
Not that I recall.
How would you describe your social life in 2009?
Retracted. Blame whatever you want, but between the various stresses and obligations in my life, socially I’ve seemed to have retracted to a handful of social encounters mostly involving running. As far as social circles go, my running acquaintances span a variety far more broad than many circles I’ve spun within. And I’m always bumping into fellow runners around the city, we having shared a couple hours of sweaty camaraderie on any given Sunday morning, there’s always cause to chat. But everything else… sadly and regrettably retracted.
Who was the best new person you met?
It seems odd — if only because I’ve spent so many long grueling hours with them — but the folks who I’ve taken along on the bulk of this year’s running adventures are people who I didn’t know until this past January. That’s right, the folks who helped me stumble my way across multiple finish lines are recent acquaintances… and among some of the best — most motivated, interesting, and endearing — new folks I met in 2009. They change all the time, of course, but they’re good folks.
Who were the most important people in your life in 2009?
One guess. Yup, the wife and the daughter. Who else?
Do you hate anyone now that you didn\’t hate this time last year?
The thing I’m finding most as I progress in age is that much more of what I used to call hate has been redirected or relabeled as either quiet frustration or pity. So… no.
What did you want and get? Not get?
What did I get? While it may unmask me as the ÃƒÂ¼bergeek that I truly am, one of the reasons I had originally (a year or so back) bought a Playstation Portable was on the prospect that someday Sony might have seen fit to release Final Fantasy VII (formerly tethered to a tv-equipped PSOne) as a virtual-console-type game for the PSP. It took six months following my purchase of the system, but sometime around mid-year Twitter suddenly lit up with reports of its availability — and a few hours later I had my own copy. Thank you digital download. The game is of little more value than nostalgia. There are better games, but I’ve forever imprinted with the RPG since indulging in the original release back in school. I still haven’t finished it, though.
What did I miss out on? I missed getting a photo with someone famous while in Vegas. In fact, that’s where the whole brad-as-photographer fails me: when the moment comes I’m the guy BEHIND the camera taking photos of friends with famous people — and there aren’t many others to swap the deal, or time to do so, I suppose. It’s too bad, but that’s how it goes.
What was the best thing you gave away in 2009?
I think I did good at Christmas this year. Does that count?
What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned thirty-three in November. The occasion was marked a couple days early with a small gathering at my house. And by small I mean my wife, my daughter, my parents, my grandmother, and my dog. We had dinner and cake, following a trip to the mall, and fell asleep on the couch watching TV. My actual birthday was very nearly a typical Monday, save for the fact that Karin was out of town for work: Claire and I went for dinner with Karin’s dad and brother as they passed through on their way to a hockey game, and then followed up with a couple laps of the nearby park in her sleigh across the half-inch dusting of snow. And it all concluded as I played Wii by myself for most of the evening after the girl went to bed. In other words, it was a pretty mellow birthday this year. But then that’s about all one should expect at my age.
Did you celebrate the anniversary of anything this year? Describe it and how you celebrated.
As we’ve done since our first anniversary in 2004, Karin and I marked another year of togetherness this year. For our sixth anniversary I thought I would do something a little different, so I inflicted a great deal of pain upon myself by running a little over twenty-one kilometers that particular Sunday morning, ultimately letting my patient and understanding wife assist me in hobbling about Whyte avenue, avoiding muscle cramps as we took in a Fringe play, and then enjoyed a pasta dinner at Chianti’s.
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More sleep. A regular full night of sleep without waking up from stress, aches, pains, chill, or a hungry two-year old at five AM. A nap that didn’t end with a whack on the face and a shout of “Wakey-wakey, daddy!” Maybe I’ll just go to be earlier in 2010.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Redundant. Well, okay. Maybe that’s a little harsh. I’ve been in a holding pattern and barely gone wardrobe shopping save to replace worn out items. I have picked up a handful of nice t-shirts in the last few months, though. Does that count? No. Okay: redundant it is.
Describe the best picture you took — or that was taken of you — in 2009:
Kudos to my favorite pic(s) of the year go out to Marc-Julien who happened, by sheer coincidence, to not only be photographing the last leg of my half-marathon, but who recognized me as I lumbered by — sweaty and oblivious — and snapped a nice series of shots without my knowledge. That was without my knowledge, at least until I got a surprise email at home later that day asking me if I happened to be bib number such-and-such and would I like copies of some photos. Yup.
What kept you sane? What drove you nuts?
Don’t laugh, but I’m going to say it’s the same thing: Daddy Days. You know…? I’m working on a flexible schedule that allows me to play stay-at-home-dad once per week, usually Thursdays, and look after Claire. It’s great, gives me something to look forward to each and every week, and has been priceless with regard to spending time with my daughter. On the other hand, juggling a career around a four day work week amidst organizational turmoil has been tough, and filling days with fun activities for a two-year-old has been a bigger challenge than I’d imagined. It’s kept me sane, but driven me bonkers at the same time.
Did you experience the world differently in 2009 than a year or two ago? In what ways?
It’s all balanced out, I think, though I’m arguably more cynical and less optimistic than I was back a couple years ago. Beyond that? No. It’s the same old crazy, unfair world that it has always been.
Who is one public figure you respected the most in 2009? Disappointed you the most?
Respected? All those random famous folks who’ve made themselves far more deeply human by engaging the real world through Twitter. It’s not that I’m gushing to talk to Rainn Wilson or Wil Wheaton, but these are folks who’ve broken down that invisible glass wall between fans and famous. And that’s awesomeness.
Disappointed? That’s easy. The ass-clowns on network news who’s snafu-laden Youtube clips clutter the Internets with political partisanism that rots the very respectability of what they think they are defending. Ya’ll sux.
What political issue stirred you the most?
It was back in January when we had a big debate over the nature of democracy in this country. I got up in arms quite often back then — back when I had less to occupy my time, apparently — as I tried to argue for process over emotion. Sure, no one really wanted to see government power wrested from the hands of what seems to be a stable minority party government and placed in the hands of a shaky coalition of an odd collection of maybe-leaders. But, seriously folks, that is called PROCESS. That is what democracy is all about. That is how the system works. Democracy is a game of skill and luck, and yes it is both legal and proper for some players to gang up on other players to win the game. That’s all a political party is after all: a collection of like-minded folks who all agree to follow the leader. And to extend the game metaphor a little further: packing up the dice and the board and going home because you don’t like how it’s turning out… that may be a loophole, but no one should be proud of that kind of behavior, no matter your politics. But go argue it somewhere else, right? Well, I might have said that a few days ago, back before it seemed we were getting a new years repeat performance.
Of course, there are always the fun and interesting activities of our more local government involving overspent budgets or muddled H1N1 vaccinations. But I won’t belabor those topics here.
Who or what did you miss the most in 2009?
It is an odd thing to miss, particularly since I work with a great group at my current job, but I’ve been missing my colleagues from my last job. All of them seem to have moved onto greener pastures in the last five years, too. But for some reason — maybe because they were the first people I worked with, and being young and early-career focused there was an innocence tied to that — I’ve been feeling nostalgic not for the job, but for the folks I knew back then. Some have married. Many have kids now. All are on new adventures. And I get the occasional message through Facebook or wherever. But, yeah, thinking back a lot, and such…
What are you leaving behind in 2009?
We added to the general sense of economic doom and gloom late in the year and folded up our company. That said, Starkware, our pre-pubescent corporation was only really established with the original purpose of bridging Karin’s BC-based employment as we moved back to Alberta in 2004. Her wee bit of pay from that endeavor payed all our original costs, and left a bit (a very small bit, actually) of seed capital to try our hands at running a small business. Over the five years we managed to keep ourselves solvent — if never really having drawn any sort of income from the prospect — and did build up a small collection of media tools (camera gear, data storage, computer equipment, etc) to help us potentially grow. But alas, between parenting and real jobs, the dream of building and nurturing a corporation slowly turned into the burden of trudging through a small handful of odd, poorly-paying jobs and spending time we didn’t have on accounting, form-filing, and taxes. Starkware (as a corporation, at least) was officially dissolved in November and we scattered her assets to the wind. It was a little sad, but we had talked about it for months and ultimately decided that if we were to try again someday, the incorporation route was not quite the direction that worked for us. And if Dragon’s Den has taught us nothing else it has taught us that sometimes you just gotta pack up and try the next idea. But I might keep the name and the logo. I kinda like those, and they’re low maintenance.
What three things would make 2010 the best year ever?
1) Some kind — even a tiny glimmer — of sustained certainty in my career;
2) a creative or professional idea that not only has potential, but that also sticks;
3) and abundant rain for my garden.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:
Less learned than had often and painfully re-enforced upon me this year: “Occasionally it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and it’s best to figure out which applies before you jump in with both feet.” Or maybe its just that I’ve finally had my ego chipped down to the quick. I should note that if this sounds extremely negative and self-critical, it shouldn’t. It’s merely a philosophy that is stronger some places than others, and I happen to be someplace where it’s very true at the moment. And I’ve always been better at the what than the who.
What is one thing you’d like your kid(s) to know about the year 2009:
I’ve heard it said that if you really want to test someone’s mettle, then put them in a tough circumstance. When the pressure is on, the true colours of somebody show through: are they tough, mean, kind, optimistic, resourceful… you know, that kind of thing. I think 2009 was a year when we put our little society to that test. I mean, we entered the year in a time of economic recession, political turmoils on many fronts, war, environmental worries, job losses, housing market uncertainties, and roller coaster resource prices. What did that do to us? It tested our mettle as a society. Were we tough, mean, kind, optimistic, resourceful, or what? What we saw were people getting really angry for often the wrong reasons across various political spectra, Ponzi schemes uncovered in not-so-dark corners, profit taking from bailout plans, businesses that should have been strong crumble to dust, and governments cowering under the banner of the aforementioned recession to avoid hard obligations to their citizens and the environment. We were tested, and often I don’t think we passed muster. It’s a sad note to end this on, but when the economy became a punchline I think we should have really tried harder to fix that. After all, when the ‘Definition of the Year’ was “Zombie Banks” we should have all picked up our pitchforks and done something. I guess it’s not too late, though.
One quote that sums up your 2009 is: