A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal. -Oscar Wilde

Monday, December 28, 2009

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.

Or woman. What is it about New Year's that sets up so much in the way of expectations? We have to measure up our progress over the past arbitrarily defined period of time and compare ourselves to the unrealistic expectations we set up for ourselves 365 (and a quarter) days ago. As if that weren't enough, we have to compare how others have changed over the past year, and our own progress (or regress) compared to theirs. I realize that it's almost ironic that someone who is so very interested in evaluation and measurement (of policy, people!) is resistant to evaluation and measurement at New Year's, but maybe it's because New Year's is a hell of a terrible time to do such things. Seasonal affective is at its peak (in the Northern hemisphere, but still). The "fun" holidays are over (at least until March, when some commemorate a saint's feast day with alcohol poisoning). The debt from Christmas is about to be realized. The novelty of snow is wearing off, and patience with cold has expired. You feel out of shape from being cooped up inside, a pale and dried out mess. You get the picture.

Nevertheless, traditions die hard. As for myself, I'm an essay (aka thesis) and elective away from a master's. The future is somewhere between exhilarating and frightening, but wholly unknown despite being just five months away. Friendships wax and wane. Romance has been a waste of time between being used to cheat on another, being yelled at on a first date, and having my Halloween "date" punched by my friend. My family remains mostly constant. I think that all families are. This blog came into existence, I lost the cat I'd had for twelve years, I acquired new practical skills and interests. I got my hands dirty and kept my nails usually somewhat manicured. I flirted with going back to my natural hair color then took a turn toward dark brown instead (and started growing it out for the first time in six or seven years-- still only shoulder-length, though). I donated blood four times. I came down with the dread pig flu, or so I suspect. I didn't travel much beyond visiting family and politicians. I acquired JeepZilla after Nick got a new car. I've read 96 (or will, when I finish the ones I just picked up) books since I turned on the reading history tracking on my library account in April. I worked in three places. I... am mostly satisfied with my year. Hardly perfect, but it worked. And that's just fine.

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