Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year! ... Resolutions ...

Happy New Year, Gentle Reader! The last day of 2008 has come and (almost) gone, and it is with that in mind that I sit here to pen my thoughts of this past year -- and the next.

This year has been one for the books. Definitely one to remember. Definitely one to put behind. Definitely one that can usher in only a better year. And definitely one that will help to form the basis for many more fun times.

This was a year that saw highs such as gaining a new national administration and (hopefully) a new outlook on what needs done to help those worse off than those in power. This was a year that saw lows such as the worst economy since the depths of the Great Depression -- with the possibility that what we've seen is only the beginning of what may be a long and painful recession (depression).

On the personal side, there were similar highs and lows. We decided to bite-the-bullet and buy new bicycles to replace my 20 year old Schwinn and her $25 Walmart special -- which happily led to my soon thereafter to my deciding to commute daily to work and then my decision to carry on that commute year-round, rather than stop just when the weather becomes more challenging (and, as it turns out, even more fun!). And the cold December we had this year made for a good test on whether my stubborn determination to ride through the Winter would survive or fail. I found that despite 3 degree rides with negative 20 degree wind-chills really isn't that bad and is actually invigorating and develops a sense of great accomplishment. In the short time that I've been commuting, I've made well over 1,000 miles and I'm establishing a very modest goal for myself of 2,500 for 2009. I'm guessing that having 12 months to work with on my goal, rather than the 5 for 2008 will be a good start; I suspect that keeping better track of my mileage will also make for a higher total! Already, we've met a good group of cyclists and we're hoping to meet many more throughout 2009.

On the low side, there were many. My oldest brother passed away after many years of battling various illnesses that never got him down and that only in the last year had affected his incredible strength and ability to best his little brother (that would be me). Never did he complain, and never would you know about all the various illnesses and ailments he had unless you knew him. He was an incredible person and I only that I'd lived closer to him or been able to see him more so that I could know him well as adult brothers, rather than having the long distance, once-a-year meeting that we've had for so many years.

On top of my oldest brother's death, my Father also died. It's sad that only when a parent dies can one look back and analyze life by the real effects that relationship created. Thankfully, I was long ago able to put behind my teen-aged-anger at my Father and accept him for whom he was, for what he'd done, for what he wished he'd done (even while never talking about it), and respecting him for all those things that I only later began to realize that he had a much stronger belief in individual liberties than I ever knew, a stronger hatred of war and conflict than I ever imagined, and that he was trapped by his own life-circumstances much more than anyone should ever be trapped. I now realize that it was his determination, insistence on doing things right, and, yes, his stubbornness, that have infused me in so many things that I do and am determined to finish (such as my earlier stated stubborn determination to commute through the Winter months, rather than wimping out when it got a little bit chilly -- ok, so minus 19 wind-chill isn't "a little" chilly...who's counting?).

It is with this view of the past that I move on to the future and into 2009. Perhaps, "feeling" that we need something to help us think of it fondly, we were treated by the last day of 2008 to an incredible sunset needs something to make it better, and goes out with a beautiful sunset. I was lucky enough to capture it.

Adieu 2008; Adieu.

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