The year 2011 was a memorable one. The U.S. Space Shuttle program ended. Several internationally known despots and evil-doers departed this world – some quite violently. A nation was paralyzed and remains wounded by a massive earthquake and tsunami.
Weather in the United States was particularly odd. A burst of springtime tornadoes devastated many communities. A hurricane destroyed hundreds of millions of dollars of property in Vermont, a state that rarely gets any hurricane damage. A freak October snowstorm dumped several feet of snow in New England days before Halloween, and in the two months since then almost no snow has fallen in that region. The months of September through December have been abnormally warm in the Eastern U.S.
We saw well-publicized trials where the verdicts did not turn out as many had predicted, and heard of horrific crimes perpetrated by emotionless criminals.
Collectively, we lost some fellow travelers too early; most taken by diseases.
The global economy cooled, with China and Asia joining the already tepid U.S. and European economies. The prospect of economic recovery is clouded by the long-term climate outlook and years of benign fiscal neglect from well-meaning governments.
But, in spite of the doom and gloom, there were bright rays of hope. Several Middle Eastern countries have shed their brutal regimes and are considering representative governments. More than a few people on international terrorist and criminal lists were apprehended or killed. There is even word that the location of ex-Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa’s body may have been discovered 36 years after he mysteriously disappeared.
On a personal note, I welcomed the arrival of my first grandchild this spring, and after several frustrating years of independent consulting found a somewhat longer term position for the last several months. Both events brightened my expectations.
I look forward to the new year with optimism and a renewed sense of vigor. I am dedicating a portion of my energy to making the world a better place for everyone, and urge others to do the same. Think about what we can do to help others and find ways to spread good fortune to the many that have not had those positive opportunities for so long.
Make 2012 a year all of us can recall fondly and not one that evokes a grumble, a tear or sigh at its very mention. Together we can do this…and together we must.