I called 2010 the worst year ever. Then I elaborated a little. Sometimes I look back and wonder how the hell I survived that hateful, soul-destroying twelve months. Other times I look back and I’m not sure I actually did. Pieces of me died in 2010 and I carry the emptiness around with me like the ghost pain of a severed limb.
It wasn’t just me, either. 2010 did all it could to destroy a lot of wonderful people, many of them close to me.
2011 was better, in the sense that getting shot in the balls once is better than getting shot in the balls twice. 2012 was … well, it was a year of treading water. Things did not get measurably worse, but they didn’t get any better, either.
Then came 2013, and it almost has me waxing nostalgic for 2010. I won’t get into all the details, other than to note that I accepted a job and uprooted my life to move to a new city, only to have things well beyond my control go sideways. Three months to the day after I started the new job the company closed the office and laid us all off. Happy Thanksgiving, and fuck you.
One of these days I will have more to say on this episode.
So the year ends with unemployment and uncertainty and mounting terror about the future. I’m busting ass to find a new gig, of course, and Seattle is a pretty decent market, so there’s reason for hope. Still, I can’t help wondering – am I not about due for a good year? Or two, or three?
And again, it isn’t just me. Odds are the last three or four years haven’t been as great as you’d hoped, either. America has been told that the recession is over, that we’re recovering, that the jobless rate is down, that the economy is growing, and so on. For instance:
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index notched its best year since 1997; The Dow Jones industrial average rose the most since 1995.
I don’t know. Is it the best it’s been in 20 years at your place?
The thing is, too many of these jobs we hear about weigh in lower down the pay scale. Too many of us are having to scrap harder and harder for less and less. And too many of our economic metrics are of no value whatsoever because they tell us more about the health of large corporations and billionaires than they do about the health of regular working families.
In short, it ain’t an economic recovery until it gets to my neighborhood.
This is just the economic story. I can’t bear to think about our political wasteland or the idea that somehow Miley Cyrus ought to have been the Time person of the year or our continued war on education or the toll that the ambient stress level is taking on our culture (and our physical well being).
I’m due for a good year. We’re all due. 2013 can’t end soon enough, and may 2014 be the year where the fates finally begin setting some things aright for us.
Happy New Year, yo.