Not for me. I had a great year. Exciting things happened. My family is healthy. I’m at the beach and my wife and I just celebrated our 23rd anniversary. I have a freezer full of peas. Like any other American in the middle class, I can look under sofa cushions at any given moment and find more in loose change than most people in the world live on for a week. And I live in a place where “religious persecution” is defined not by bloodshed, but by whether bearded millionaires get to star in a top-ranked reality TV show. It’s hard to complain about my personal situation.
But there’s something wrong with a year when someone like Nelson Mandella dies but Anthony Wiener gets to run for office. When more people watch Hannah Montana cavorting and twerking with giant teddy bears than the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. When Tom Clancy and Vince Flynn have written their last book but 50 Shades of Grey is still selling. When we celebrate Thanksgiving by beating each other up over discounted big-screen TVs.
There is unrest and instability in the world. Syria and Iran and North Korea are threats. Poverty surrounds us, but we are largely unmoved by it, even when we see the scenes on our new discounted big-screen TVs.
None of this is new. There will always be wars and rumors of wars, and the poor will always be with us. Yet there is a sense that things are getting worse in many ways. Maybe so. It shouldn’t be surprising if it’s true.
Maybe as poverty and oppression increase, I will look around and see more opportunities for giving. Or maybe my resolutions will revolve solely around diet and exercise, as usual.
Maybe I should stop defining good years by how much I’ve got, as opposed to how much I get to share.
I’ll think about that when I eat my New Year’s peas. I have plenty.