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Happy New Year — and a hearty welcome to 2011.

Happy New Year — and a hearty welcome to 2011.

Note: Way back in its heyday, this blog got about 400,000 independent readers and 250,000 page views a month. My resolution for this year is to write more, write often and to exceed those numbers. Wish me luck! -md

January 1, 2011

I woke up this morning with a hacking cough. I guess I earned it. I took Kya out for her first “adult” New Year celebration last night. Smokey bars and loud music. At least my ears aren’t still ringing.

Despite an alcohol consumption consisting of a tame Bud Light with dinner and what passes for an Old Fashioned these days (Bourbon and orange liqueur), I awoke with a throbbing headache and a creeping sensation that I hadn’t slept at all. Yet, here I am, showered and dressed and well-fed after a hot breakfast, waiting for what I hope will be the final of the “Christmas” celebrations that have consumed the better part of the last thirty days. It feels kind of strange to celebrate Christmas 2010 on the first day of 2011, but you take what you can get, I guess.

That’s especially true of 2010 — a year I am more than glad to see come to a close on so many levels.

Having celebrated now 33 new years, (2011 being my 34th), I’ve observed there are two kinds of year: the “good” years and the “bad.” And that assessment of a year’s merits or faults tends very little to vary between diverse groups of people. If a year was “good,” it was good for most. If it was “bad,” it was an equal opportunity offender.

Last night at dinner, as a varied group of individuals watched the belly dancer at Athena, we came to a general consensus: 2010 was indeed a ‘bad’ year.

No one could point to any single cause of the “badness” of 2010. There were no milestone deaths from which we had not recovered. The stock market did not crash and plunge us into a global recession.

Given that we were all sitting around a white-clothed table in the first of several different stops, we weren’t too aversely impacted by a sluggish economy. And none of us were suffering from debilitating, incurable health conditions.

Yet each of us delivered the same, harsh judgement upon the soon-to-expire last year of the first decade of the new millennium. Bob the economist delivered a rather insightful comment.

“There just seemed to be so much hate,” he said.

It was true. Political hatred, racial hatred, even the rarer personal hatred all seemed to come to a boil in 2010.
Matt the idealist said truth had suffered, too, at the hands of 2010.

It did not seem to matter what you said last year, so long as you said it with sufficient (and often hollow) passion to convince your audience you sincerely felt whatever it was you were saying.

Bob wondered if 2011 would continue a path of hatred. I don’t think so.
2010 was an odd animal. A mid-term elections year, a depressed economy and a nation straining under the stress of two increasingly unpopular wars all made the Hatred Tree ripe for the picking.

But in the last few weeks, a ray of hope sprung forth on the political spectrum. Those polarizing figures from opposing political factions all seemed to have been dealt a stern hand in the final polls of the year.

And the Stock Markets as well seemed to say, “Enough is enough, already,” and closed, finally above the levels after the post-bankopolypse crash(es) of 2008.

People are finding work and fewer people are losing their jobs.

At the end of the night, as the clock struck midnight (or 12:04 by AT&T time), I got to ring in the birth of 2011 with a renewed sense of looking forward to a new day.

Welcome to the Present, 2011. Your predecessor was a bitch. Please be nicer than 2010.