Friday, January 1, 2010
At the end of the year, people like to play the song "Long December" by The Counting Crows. It isn't difficult to get people to empathize with the line, "It's been a long December, and there's reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last." It is definitely our hope for the next year to be better than this one, because if each year is better than the last, that's an upward trend! Eventually things are going to be inconceivably amazing! The rest of this song seems to imply something different: someone he loved died in December, and it would be difficult for the coming new year to be worse than the last. There is no doubt that it is a sad song. But we'll get to that later.
Ushering in a new calendar year seems like a good opportunity to review the previous year, because, even though the way the months are marked off may be a little arbitrary, you ought to review the year at some point.
The most significant factor of 2009 that I can think of is being in a poor financial situation. Right about the time that I needed to start paying back student loans, my employers started cutting my hours. Suddenly, the money I was usually able to save up each month just wasn't there anymore.
But this year I was able to start breaking my video game addiction. It's definitely a tough thing to do--I have played a lot of video games in my life, ever since I was about five years old. They were not exactly a good use of my time even then, and now, in my adult life, I feel like they are just a giant time sink. Anything I could call an "accomplishment" in playing these games is going to be meaningless to non-players (for instance, a Kingdom of Loathing character with 50 ascensions), and there are few skills one can develop that can be applied to other areas of one's life. Generally speaking, the skills involved in playing video games are useful only for playing other video games. So, even if I did not learn guitar last year the way I wanted to, that's not much of a big deal to me, because I have developed different hobbies and creative outlets that do not involve video games.
Around November, I started expanding my social circle a lot, and meeting new people, leading up to what became a "long December" for me. I was getting out of my house on a consistent basis, going to parties and what have you, and there was a stretch of about two weeks where I had to force myself to stay home and "recharge my batteries." I am opening up 2010 with new people, new experiences, and new beginnings. It is a wonderful thing.
And I'm not even going to talk about my dating life. It is the kind of "it's complicated" that involves charts and diagrams. It would only confuse you.