Well. That was certainly an experience.
I’m speaking of 2017, of course. Or to use former president George W. Bush’s more apt phrasing, “That was some weird shit.”
But never mind him, how did YOU make out, dear reader? Did you cringe with each news cycle or somehow just gut it out over the last 365 days?
Me? Well, I ended up with two kidney stones that had to be surgically removed. But unless you’re a very rich person or a corporation (and don’t forget the Supreme Court has actually ruled that they can be the same thing!), this indeed was a year for collateral damage. My little episode of discomfort, however, had nothing on those who continue to suffer in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Additionally, my heart once again goes out to the family of Heather Heyer, who literally gave her life to the cause of fighting hate and intolerance last August in Charlottesville.
And speaking of hurricanes, Mother Nature (with an assist from global warming and rising ocean levels) wreaked havoc on residents of Houston and many Florida and Georgia communities. It seems even the weather had an axe to grind this year.
In spite of everything, though, here we are again at another New Year’s Eve. 2018 is knocking on the door as I type this post, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been so happy to let him in the house. Midnight can’t get here early enough for this fella.
In looking over the resolutions and promises I made last year, to my utter and forgetful chagrin, I note that I actually made a prescient warning to myself about the dangers of kidney stones. Drink more water indeed.
Although I exchanged perfunctory birthday and Thanksgiving messages with a quasi-estranged sibling, we failed to connect on any deep level. That was a disappointment.
To some extent I was able to actually “pace” myself in keeping abreast of the daily news coverage, and not get too immersed in the drama of Washington, DC’s histrionics. I found a way to read headlines and first paragraphs of some articles in order to soften the jolt. It didn’t always work because the Tweeter in Chief kept our collective adrenalin running at full speed.
And, in a bit of blogger housekeeping, I did indeed follow through on my promise to sign my name when I commented on other blogger’s posts. You doesn’t have to call me Snakes; you can call me Marty.¹
A new year offers fresh chances and new opportunities. It’s always good to try to start with a clean slate.
Both on the political and even in the economic front, I am cautiously optimistic for what the new year will bring. True we are in an increasingly ever dangerous situation with North Korea, and those Wall Street bears remind us nearly every day that this current bull market cannot continue forever. But I am stubbornly hopeful that we can survive these and other potential calamities.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I’ve nonetheless positioned my savings for bonds and cash to be at 40% levels. I ain’t a fool, or so I want to believe.
For 2018, I hereby resolve to…
… Try to hold down on post-dinner snacking each night. I’m actually stealing this resolution from blogger Pat Bertram over at Bertram’s Blog. Perhaps it’s good to make this a collective endeavor. Let me know if you wish to join the cause. The best part is no one will ever know but you and your conscience.
… Become more politically involved. Earlier this month I began attending a weekly “Blue Bag” lunch of the local Democratic Party, and I hope to continue doing so going forward (besides, they now have my name and email address anyway). The stakes couldn’t be higher this year in changing the makeup of Congress.
… Continue my regular contributions to the lobbying arms of AARP and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM). I am proud to have been a regular contributor to both this past year. Already some members of Congress have made it clear that entitlements are now on their agenda. We must protect that which we’ve worked to earn and was promised to us.
… Maybe, just maybe I can really get a grasp on using “affect” and “effect” correctly in my writing? It’s a lofty goal, but I’m up to the task. I give you full permission to point out the errors of my ways in future posts.
… Once again, work on that relationship with my distant sibling. One should never give up.
… Go to more concerts. We again live in an area which attracts well-known musicians. In April we have tickets to see Mike & The Mechanics. Except for iconic bands such as the Rolling Stones, the nice thing about seeing favorites from your youth is that the ticket prices tend to be fairly reasonable. In my email in-box is currently an announcement for the 10,000 Maniacs (yes, yes, I know, no Natalie Merchant), and I want to see them too. I say bring on the old fogies.
… Try and increase the output of this blog. I was averaging one a month this year, which isn’t too-too bad. But I’d like to try and write more if possible.
So get on your party hats. And whether you do resolutions or not, make the New Years something meaningful for yourself. Don’t over-drink, careful if you’re driving, and remember to keep the Jeno’s Pizza Rolls in the toaster oven long enough so that they’re hot all the way through. Happy New year!
Until next time…
¹ For those under the age of 50, see your parents or grandparents to explain the reference.