Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year is Beginning


I am going to return to a handwritten journal for 2011. I really like using the blog as my journal, particularly combining pictures with my thoughts and questions, and I think I may return to using the blog in the future, but I miss the physical aspect of a book journal.  I also want to work on my handwriting as a project for 2011; I used to really like my handwriting, however it has become increasingly difficult to handwrite neatly in the past few years so I want to focus on practicing it.  Finally, I think some of my reflections -- or the way that I reflect -- is different when I know that there is a chance that other people will read what I write; I want to make sure that I do not lose touch with the personal, private side of keeping the journals.

Before I go, a few reflections on 2010:
  • I have really liked my "rediscovery" of finding and listening to new music the past couple of years. I had spent several years listening to my CD collection over and over, and I do like my old favorites, but it has been fun to hear new voices and styles, and I am definitely excited to continue new musical discoveries.

  • My favorite movie of 2010 was "The Social Network." I thought Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg was brilliant and I loved the exploration of how we approach human relationships and interaction. I also loved the overlay of the two legal disputes (just this morning I read in the Times about the Winklevoss brothers continuing their lawsuit against Facebook (these guys are relentless!)). It seems to me that Facebook will only continue to grow more prominent in our lives, but I am still not interested in opening an account.

  • The economy dominated the news this year.  When I go back and read my journals from 2005/06/07, the primary focus was on the Iraq war and the domestic efforts against terrorism.  This year, there has been considerably less focus on foreign affairs. Even the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are largely ignored; certainly the Israeli/Palestinian conflict does not get the coverage that it did during the Clinton and Bush Presidencies.  I assume that Afghanistan will become prominent this coming spring and summer when the drawdown deadline approaches, but I think we are in for at least two more years of being primarily "inward-focused" as a country.

  • The stories about Mexico continue to focus -- almost exclusively -- on the drug-trafficking, and the stories about Africa usually emphasize political upheaval.  I need to work on seeking out reporting about foreign issues that does not always track the standard tropes.

  • At this point, I have no clue who the Republicans will nominate for 2012; Mitt Romney seems the smart choice to me (he would attract moderate support), but I still think his Mormonism may be a problem in the primaries. I do not think Sarah Palin will run, and I really wish that she would be less of a focus for the national media.  Just last night I saw an interview on PBS with James Oberstar (a long-serving Democrat who lost his House re-election bid this fall) and it reminded me that there are lots of really good, smart people in politics, and I wish we would give them a chance to work together.

  • I have very mixed feelings about President Obama's performance two years in. I want more leadership from him; I want him to explain to us, for example, how we can change our national value system to focus less on consumption and individualism and more on working for the collective and long-term good. 
I am very, very excited about 2011.  I love December 31 and January 1; these are days of renewal and excitement about the infinite wonders of being alive.

The sun is rising

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