It’s the end of a calendar year, which means that it’s time for a collective moment of self-assessment and reflection. It’s time to declare it The Year of the Somethings, as we decide publicly and privately which dots we want to connect and identify the image that emerges. Today is for thinking about endings, tomorrow is for beginnings, for resolutions and promises and clean slates.
This year, I’ve found it quite striking to read the retrospectives on entertainment and news sites, or to hear friends and relatives talking about their experiences of 2012. I missed a lot of the big pop culture events of the year completely, and heard about the news much more distantly and in much less depth for two-thirds of the time, as my family and I were off in somewhat isolated fieldwork mode. Temporally, we are actually quite close to that point, but mentally, it sometimes feels like it never happened. Geographically, we have come back to a place where we lived a number of years ago, and emotionally, it has felt like nothing has changed, even though everything is different.
The fact that we call it the New Year and not the Year End or the Closing of the Year indicates that we’re focusing more on the promise of what’s to come than on what is passing, but somehow, I’m feeling particularly mournful today, as I look back on a 2012 that already feels very distant from me. I’m feeling the auld lang syne, but without the incongruous confetti.