Good morning Muppets! I hope you are feeling well rested and ready to put 2014 to bed on this fine New Year’s Eve.
I appear to be totally on a roll with blogging since I announced my un-retirement: three posts in as many days might be a PR for this manic little marathoner.
As I was splashing my way through my swim workout this morning I thought it would be valuable to take some time to reflect on the highlights and lowlights of this past solar cycle.
Humanity in general had its share of ups and downs during the past 365 days. We literally reached unprecedented heights when we successfully landed the space-probe Philae on comet 67P: the collaborative, international, interdisciplinary effort behind the Rosetta mission exemplified the extraordinary capabilities of Homo sapiens sapiens when we use our big brains to work together.
On a more microscopic scale, scientists used a super-cool DNA-editing tool called CRISPR (that we
stole adapted from Bacteria) to engineer the first-ever monkeys with custom mutations in their genomes.
We watched Dennis Kimetto break the marathon world-record in Berlin. Tatyana McFadden continued to crush it with a sweep of victories at the four major marathons for the second year running. Humanity gathered together in Sochi to celebrate athletic achievement, remember how badass the biathlon is, and pretend for five minutes that we care about curling at the Winter Olympics.
2014 has seen a wave of progressive policies sweeping across the nation. My fair city of Seattle passed a 15$/hour minimum wage. President Obama announced an aggressive series of executive actions to combat climate change. Seventeen additional states legalized same sex marriage (bringing the grand total to 35).
Unfortunately our species wasn’t on its best behavior all year long. The girls kidnapped by Boka Haram have yet to be brought back. ISIS continues to impose its midevil interpretation of shariah law across the Middle East. The Ebola outbreak claimed too many lives. In America we saw horrific school shootings, unarmed black men killed in cold blood, and peaceful protests turned angry and ugly. Our legislature still has its collective head up its own ass when it comes to passing a budget bill to actually pay for keeping the government running. That Kardashian Kreature appears to still possess a career.
Overall we great hairless apes deserve an “E” for effort, with substantial room for improvement in our year-end performance report. Relentless forward progress in an atmosphere of growth is pretty much the best that anyone can hope for.
My own year had its share of triumphs and travails. I ate a LOT of oatmeal.
I got injured. I struggled through a bout with Achilles Tendonitis, and suffered a (second) stress fracture in my foot.
I went to an incredible scientific conference where I filled my brain with facts about DNA. I worked insane hours and spent WAY too many Saturdays stuck in lab.
Looking back on the year that was, I can identify instances where I probably did not make the best decisions. I can also pick out some pretty fantastic memories and phenomenal excursions with friends. I set a lot of goals. I achieved
most many a few of them
In retrospect I wouldn’t change a single thing about the year I’ve had; it’s impossible to alter the past, so why waste the mental energy wishing that you could? Every single experience in my entire life contributed to landing me where I am at right now; I wouldn’t have it any other way because I COULDN’T have it any other way.
The end of the year is a great time for reflection, goal setting, and resolutions, but it is also totally arbitrary. I’m going to wake up tomorrow in 2015 as the same merry, mustachioed, oatmeal-eating, card-carrying, friendly-freakazoid on wheels that I was in 2014–just one year wiser and one year weirder.
So as the sun sets on this year, let’s think about what we’ve done and where we’ve been; but for crying out loud let’s try not to get a complex about it. Everyone deserves a big, shiny “E” for effort, with room for improvement. Who’s ready to take up some of that room and improve right on forward into 2015?
Alright gentle readers, time to strut your stuff!
What are some of your favorite memories or proudest moments from the past year?