It’s that time of year again, when we all get a little sentimental and start to reflect on the events of the past twelve months (possibly even beyond) and begin to forge new commitments for the new year ahead. I typically write a blog post at this time of year, acknowledging some happenings of the year. One of the few posts that I ever write these days – my lament towards my lost pastime of blogging. 2012 wasn’t a particularly good year for me personally. In fact it probably ranks as one of the worst years ever for several reasons, all of which are personal. However, I will try to recount the memories, both good and bad, for no other purpose than to air my thoughts and have something to review in years to come (listed in no particular order below).
- Rest in peace Mum – as those close to me will know, 2012 saw the passing of our Mum after battling Alzheimer’s disease for some time. Words cannot really capture the sense of loss felt, nor would it do much justice to try to reflect such in this post. It would not be fitting however, to go without mention in my significant events of 2012.
- Space Dive – the last Austrian to leap from nothingness to household name was Arnold Schwarzenegger, mostly thanks to Hollywood. However, on October 14th 2012 another Austrian literally lept from nothingness to being a household name. That Austrian is Felix Baumgartner and for those living under a rock this year, he is now the record holder for the highest ever parachute jump, having plunged ~24 miles and breaking the sound barrier in the process, from a helium-filled balloon. This was definitely the “moon landing” of our generation and I suppose, fitting that it was achieved by a man born the year of that landing.
- Olympic triumph – 2012 could not be closed out, without mentioning the event that got the entire country talking and by event, I mean the entire games (main and paralympian). Of course the athlete who grabbed the biggest headlines was Katie Taylor, who showed the nation and the world that female boxing deserves to be on the same stage as its male equivalent. Her fights brought a nation through the agony of every blow to the ecstasy of gold medal triumph. While mentioning this tremendous achievement, it would be remiss to end without also mentioning the double gold medal achievement of Michael McKillop in the Paralympic Games; inspiring hope in so many and proving triumph over adversity, Ireland is truly on the world stage of athletics.
- Sandy Hook – my deepest sympathies and thoughts with every single person touched by this incredible tragedy. I will not rant and rave like some have done and detract from the sheer anguish, pain and suffering caused by this masacre but regardless of your thoughts on gun control, you have to concede that no access to guns for non-criminals would surely go a long way to preventing such terrible events as this. Of course this wasn’t the only shooting in the US this year and I choose it not to ignore nor compare tragedies but purely because of its recent happening. My sympathies are with all who have lost through such tragedy.
- The day the world ended – or didn’t. It just goes to show that not even the Maya could cause as much panic as a bunch of IT consultants intent on milking every cent they could from unsuspecting clients. Nobody truly believed nor spoke about the end of the world in the same way as the panic that spread across the globe in advance of Y2K and its infamous “bug”. You can’t make much money out of the world ending; nice to know our priorities…
- Gangnam Style – we may never fully understand. However, one thing is for sure, it wouldn’t have happened without the internet. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever said that before. I’m not sure what else to say.
- Curiosity about Mars – yes, us Earthlings managed to put something else on Mars this August. Our new rover, named Curiosity, touched down in early August and has been dominating dinner table conversations ever since… Oh wait… Seriously though, it is an achievement worth mentioning, even if the significance of it will never be quantified in the lifetime of those who witnessed its occurrence.
- Yes Governor – Waterford City managed to attract none other than Gov. Brian Schweitzer from Montana to its annual Tricolour Celebration, commemorating the creation and peaceful meaning behind the Irish flag. Gov. Schweitzer is hotly tipped to be the next democrat candidate for the White House in 2016 and to have had his attendance and support in Waterford prior to his epic journey, should he undertake it, was a true honour. I was fortunate enough to have a quick chat with the man himself and even grabbed a cheeky photo (thanks to Lee Grace).
- Save Waterford – please do. For as long as I have lived, I have been painfully aware of the mistreatment of Waterford City and the Southeast region of Ireland by successive governments and the carving up of the country into Dublin, Cork and Galway only. In November, a protest march against the proposed cuts to Waterford Regional Hospital and the downgrading of the city’s status was organised through a grassroots campaign in the space of a week. That Saturday, in excess of 15000 people marched through the streets of Waterford City, in solidarity with one another. People from right across the Southeast came together to be heard in support of the region, one of the few times that stupid GAA fuelled barriers were broken down and ordinary people acknowledged that they were all in the same boat. I was quite moved by the peaceful display and hope that I will see far more of it in the future.
- Facebook IPO – hit like if you want some shares. The floatation of Facebook was probably one of the most eagerly awaited events of recent years and it happened in May of this year. Naturally stock traded well for the first couple of days (so too did Eircom – remember that?). The rest of the story will be confined to the annals of historic flops. It’s suffice to say that you can build an internet company, get a billion followers, get them to generate their own content and give commercial interests a mechanism of advertising therein to the masses but your company is still worth nothing if you don’t actually do anything. Never be fooled by initial hype and early trades, the intangible will never have value on the same scale as the tangible.
I’m sure I’ve missed a million things that have grabbed my attention this year but I am neither in the mood to ponder further than the time taken to write this nor am I enthused enough to think that it might somehow matter. I am simply marking the passing of one year and the beginning of another; that is all the significance. Hopefully 2013 will be filled with opportunity and event to invoke greater positive feeling, this time next year.