With that thought in mind again last year, I looked back on 2005 and didn't even consider making any resolutions for 2006. I didn't concern myself with having something to do on the last night of the year, because as we get older, crowds become less appealing and it really is just an arbitrary flip of the calendar. In my youth I'd already had at least two great New Year's Eves that would be hard to top. But the start of a new year is as good an opportunity as any to look back as well as ahead, assess where one was during one time period, and where one will be in the next.
While I didn't make any firm resolutions, I loosely pondered things I might do in 2006. As I read my old words, I'm happy to find that I actually did some of the things I considered. I did lose some weight, unfortunately after gaining some first. I continued writing and taking pictures, and I got a new camera for the latter. I even incorporated the idea of a to-do list into my weekends, and while the list consists of things like “go to church”, “go take pictures”, “do laundry”, or “watch these movies”, it still gives me a sense of structure and helps keep the days from blurring or vanishing. Toward the end of 2005, theGreek had advised using a printed list to get a handle on my job, and throughout this year its really helped, with the exception of a few busy times when things got too crazy. Even then, when I had an overwhelming amount of work to do, I knew what I had to do by just glancing at my list and my priorities by deadline. I started my current job at the very beginning of the year 2000, so as of now I've survived for SEVEN years. It hardly seems that long, and at the end of every I'm aware that, maybe for better or maybe for worse, I'm still employed.
Kev Bayer came across a great list of questions that I think will help me organize my thoughts, as I now look back on my 2006:
1) What did you do in 2006 that you've never done before?
I watched The Prisoner. I got Tom DeFalco's autograph at the New York ComicCon. I took a ten-week online Science Fiction writing class. I had a real Philly Cheese Steak in Philadelphia. I went on a blind date. I went to a dog show. I took pictures of a fox in the wild. I went to a NASCAR race. I went to a renaissance fair. I entered my company's Halloween costume contest, and actually won a prize! I watched every James Bond movie, most of which I hadn't already seen, in chronological order.
2) Did you keep your New Years' resolutions and will you make more for next year?
I've decided to make it an annual tradition not to make resolutions I won't keep anyway, but in general leave myself open to the new possibilities another year may bring.
3) Did anyone close to you give birth?
At least five of my friends, or their wives in the case of male friends, had babies this year, three for the first time. I also have two friends whose wives are pregnant now, and one whose dog may be pregnant. It's been a fertile year.
4) Did anyone close to you die?
Sadly, we lost my Aunt Irene this year. I was also saddened to learn of the untimely demise of a former coworker. For me the saddest celebrity loss was Peter Boyle. In this past month, President Ford and James Brown have left our world as well.
5) What countries did you visit?
Like my dad, I'm not the type of person who travels and I've never had the time, money, or courage to leave the United States. Therefore, my answer to this question is “Pennsylvania”.
6) What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
Wealth, a house, a new car, an athletic physique, tallness, and a girlfriend, necessarily in that order. What? Nothing says my answers have to be realistic.
7) What date from 2006 will remain etched in your memory and why?
Saturday, December 30th, the day Saddam Hussein was executed. As far as I know, no villainous world leader has ever been brought to justice and punished in such a public fashion. Hitler, for example, took his own life. I'm concerned what consequences and precedents will arise from this development, and some scary times are ahead. Hopefully his death serves as an example to other would-be dictators and doesn't make him a martyr. It's tricky ground.
8) What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Without question, my best achievement was running a race and doing almost as well as I did when I was in much better shape a few years ago.
9) What was your biggest failure?
Wow, there are far too many to mention, and three or four I don't plan on sharing. I'll go with a safe one and say that I haven't been able to lose as much weight as I wanted to, and I've stalled at 190 pounds. At least I'm not going back up over 200 where I was earlier in 2006, but why can't I lose weight and keep my hair? Getting old sucks.
10) Did you suffer illness or injury?
At the guaranteed risk of jinxing myself in 2007, I had no major health complaints last year. I guess vitamins and regular exercise are good for something. Other than nearly wearing a hole in my foot, slicing a finger on a soda can at an Italian feast over the Summer, and slicing my finger on a metal lid yesterday, I avoided injuries too. I'd knock wood, but with my luck I'd only break my knuckles.
11) What was the best thing you bought?
The best thing I bought was my aforementioned Canon PowerShot S2 IS.
12) Where did most of your money go?
Between renting and buying, I'd say most of my money went toward DVDs. I'm sure if I looked carefully at my credit card statements though, gasoline might rival or exceed movies.
13) What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I could give an inappropriate JNovian response of “no comment” I suppose, but instead I'm going to go with the trailers for a lot of next year's movies, including Transformers, Spider-man 3 and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Within the year, there were road trips, a bowling night, a paintball excursion and happy hours that I met with great anticipation.
14) What scripture is a theme of 2006?
Well, apparently ”God helps those who help themselves.” isn't actually in the Bible, so I'll have to look one up. On the plus side, I guess this means my bad luck isn't all my fault.
15) Compared to this time last year are you:
a. Happier or sadder? Happier.; b. Thinner or fatter? About the same, maybe slightly thinner.; c. Richer or poorer? I've saved more, but my salary isn't much higher.
16) What do you wish you'd done more of?
17) What do you wish you'd done less of?
18) How did you spend Christmas?
In the morning, I exchanged gifts with my parents. My uncle came over in the afternoon and my mom served both pasta and chicken as well as assorted side dishes. Later dessert included cookies and cannoli. Between meals I watched DVDs on my computer.
19) Did you fall in love in 2006?
In high school I was taught that most people mistake infatuation with falling in love, and actual commitment and sacrifice comes from standing in love. So ultimately, I'm avoiding this question. Look, bunnies!
20) What was your favorite TV show?
21)What was the best book you read?
In 2005, the answer would clearly be Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. 2006 is a little tougher. I finally finished reading Wolves of the Calla and I read Song of Susannah, both from the Dark Tower series. I've now read nearly 400 pages of The Dark Tower, half of the final book. I'm not likely to finish that before next year, so if it's between Wolves and Susannah, I'm marginally going to go with the former. The latter was good too, but much shorter by comparison with fewer plot developments. It could easily have been folded into one of the other books.
22) What was your greatest musical discovery of 2006?
I didn't discover anything new, though I did enjoy both Trivium and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, both of which were brought to my attention by B13. My favorite new song was Chris Cornell's “You Know my Name”, though I've been a fan since college so that doesn't really qualify as a discovery.
23) What did you want and get?
See my answer to #11.
24) What did you want and not get?
See my answer to #6.
25) What was your favorite film this year?
It's a tie between Casino Royale and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
26) What did you do on your birthday?
On my actual birthday my mom made steak as she always does, and later served cake. Since my birthday fell on a Saturday this year, my friends at work took me out to lunch the day before. And a week later, I went to a few bars in the city with a bunch of friends.
27) What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
28) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
29) What kept you sane?
My friends, and my blog.
30) Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Pam Beesley(Jenna Fischer).
31) What political issue stirred you the most?
The freshest one in my mind right now is the Hussein thing.
32) Who did you miss?
I miss my aunt. I think when we finally get together with the rest of her family, her death is going to seem real. Right now sometimes there's still this sense that she's still around to go visit. I also miss all my old friends that have moved or become busy with work and family life. Thanks to the internet, I still stay in touch with everyone, and recently was able to contact an old high school friend that I hadn't heard from in two years. This was the year Rey moved out of state, and our office is definitely a different environment without him there. Of course, he still finds ways to alternately entertain or torture me as though he were still sitting a few feet away.
33) Who was the best new person you met?
Tom DeFalco was pretty cool. I was also extremely impressed with how my deceased friend's mother-in-law took charge at her Shiv'ah; that was one strong lady.
34) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.
Never dry off anything with a metal edge using only your bare hands.
35) Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
”To be yourself is all that you can do”
HAPPY NEW YEAR, everybody!