Monday, January 02, 2017

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Today is Monday, January second, 2017; here in the United States, it's the official New Year's Day holiday, since the actual day fell on a Sunday.

Happy New Year, again!

The month of January is thought to have been named for the Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions, who was depicted as having two faces - one which looked back to the previous year, and another that looked ahead to the year to come ...

And so it is that I thought I'd start off the new year with a look back and a look ahead.

For a lot of reasons, 2016 was a terrible year. An unusually large number of celebrities died in the course of the year, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, the melting of the arctic and antarctic ice caps continued at a disturbing pace, and common courtesy and civility in America suffered a sharp decline. 

Can 2017 be any improvement over 2016? I think it's unlikely. If we accept that lots of celebrities died in 2016 because they had reached a statistically-deadly age, then 2017 isn't likely to be much better on that front. As for the decline of civility and the ice caps, the election of Donald Trump appears likely to make both situations worse.

2017 will be my first full year as a retiree on Social Security and Medicare ... just in time for the GOP to start dismantling both programs. I'm lucky in a way, because I have a military pension (although there are no longer any guarantees about that, either), but living on a fixed income in NoVa is ... challenging.

Agnes and I are going to do our best to enjoy the retirement we've earned. We have a cruise to Hawaii planned for next month, with side trips to Los Angeles and San Diego, a trip to Williamsburg in April to watch our granddaughter Marcy march with her high-school band, a trip back to Germany, at least one trip to Dayton to visit our grandchildren out there, and a long-postponed visit to Niagara Falls. We'll stay busy.

I don't make New Year's resolutions, because they usually don't last more than a few days ... okay, minutes, but I do have general goals for the coming year.

- I plan to keep writing my blog every day as long as I can keep it interesting and the readership holds up.

- I plan to continue my effort to walk three to five miles per day for exercise.

- I will try not to embarrass Agnes too much.

- I will try to be the sort of wise and loving grandfather I never had (both of my grandfathers passed away before I was born).

- I will try to write more letters and document more of the family history so that my grandchildren know something of their background.

I think that's enough. There's no point in peaking too soon.

To you, Dear Readers, I wish the very happiest and safest of New Years, and I hope that you will continue to join me in this space every day as we navigate the rocky shoals of 2017 together.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



eViL pOp TaRt said...

Happy New Year, Bilbo! Sounds like you have the year planned out well.

Mike said...

"...fixed income in NoVa..."

Time to move back to Pittsburgh? You would be a gazzillonaire there. One moving van for your stuff. One for your books.

Chuck Bear said...

Happy New Year Bilbo. I hope 2017 is just better over all.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Happy New Year.

allenwoodhaven said...

From you, I look forward to more thoughts tomorrow. Enjoy your retirement; you deserve it!

Hell Hound said...

Expect turbulence; but just buckle in and sit tight,