Posted by: joha5 | December 13, 2010

2010: The Year of Uncertainty

Man, what a strange year.  And I don’t mean just for me personally.  It was a strange year for the world.  Something just seemed ever so slightly off this year and it seemed to throw everything off balance.  The contrast of 2010 to the past couple of years has been palpable.  If I had to come up with themes for the past couple of years then I would say that 2008 was encapsulated by change while 2009 could perhaps be best defined by a sense of fear.  If this is the case then there is only one possible theme for 2010 and that theme is uncertainty.

After the recession walloped us over the head last year in ways that nobody could have predicted, this was really the year where we tried to find our feet only to discover that the ground had shifted beneath us while we weren’t watching.  Everything just seemed so tepid and uncertain this year.  I mean, every year brings with it a level of uncertainty but this year was different.  We just seemed so uncertain about everything

The only thing certain about this year is the uncertainty.

In the ‘The year of the Uncertain’ many things happened.  Universal Healthcare – or a form thereof – was passed here in the United States but nobody was really sure of what effect it would have on anything.  Perhaps Nancy Pelosi put it best when she stated that ‘we have to pass the healthcare bill to know what’s in it’.  We had an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and we were uncertain not only of how much oil was actually spilled (it is now estimated to be between 180-200 million gallons) but we were uncertain that we even had the actual capability to shut the damn thing off at all.  We were unsure about Obama and how much of a figure of change he really is.  In fact, many of us weren’t sure if he was even born here.  Remember Eyjafjallajokull?  Not only weren’t we sure of how long the volcanic ash would disrupt flights and the environment but we were absolutely unsure on how to even say the name of the volcano in the first place.  We had miners in Chile who survived for 70 days underground and we weren’t even certain that it was going to be possible to get them out alive.  We weren’t sure how Julian Assange got the wikileaks, how it would affect diplomacy, or even if what he did was actually against the law in the first place.  North Korea and South Korea still aren’t sure of each other and continue to play war games in the East China Sea.  We aren’t certain when the economy will recover completely and when the unemployment rate will go down.  We aren’t sure of the Euro and what effect the bailouts of Greece and Ireland will have on the global economy in the future.  We are sure that Aung San Suu Kyi is out of house arrest but we are certainly uncertain that it will last.  We are never sure what Sarah Palin is up to and what will come out of her mouth – or Twitter feed – next.  We aren’t sure what American Idol will be like without Simon Cowell and with Jennifer Lopez and Stephen Tyler (although I am sure I won’t be watching it).  J.D. Salinger died and most of us weren’t even certain that he was even alive.  Sorry, J.D.  We weren’t sure how many people were actually in the United States so we counted them all over again as we like to do every 10 years.  We were also uncertain as to why the ‘Jersey Shore’ cast filmed their second season in Miami and how the show still managed to be called ‘Jersey Shore’.  We weren’t certain that TSA employees were perverts or just doing their job.  We also weren’t even sure about whether or not we should ask and/or tell or if we should just not bother asking or telling about…well, you know what.  What a strange, perverse, and backward year it has been.

Personally, I have had a very uncertain year as well.  I went to the west coast for the first time with one of my closest friends for 4 days in February but we soon realized that it was uncertain as to when we would ever get home due to ‘Snowmageddon’ in Washington, D.C. (we got home 2 weeks later after an impromptu road trip through Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco).  I was uncertain about whether or not to teach this summer during my vacation and I was particularly uncertain when it turned out that I would be teaching a class called Lego Architecture (I did it anyway).  I was uncertain about the direction of my life and what it is exactly that I want to do (what 28-year-old isn’t?).  I was uncertain on where to go for a vacation in August (I ended up in Chicago for a week).  My health was uncertain there for a while and I eventually had my tonsils and adenoids removed in late October (I even have a procedure called a sinusotomy coming up this Saturday..a week before Christmas!).  I was unsure of whether or not I should start a blog (I did I am glad of it!).  I am uncertain about where next year will take me and what surprises it will bring as I continue to move onwards and upwards (this is probably the ‘uncertainty’ that I am most excited about).

It is clear as the year comes to a close that there will be no stopping the uncertainty we are experiencing right now.  All we can do is learn from what we have experienced.  We learned from 2008 – the year of change – and 2009 – the year of fear – and we will most certainly learn more about our collective direction in 2011.  I just pray that 2011 gives us a little less gray and a little more black and white.

…Actually, I’m not certain that I even want that.  Wow.  Is it 2011 yet?

What will 2011 bring? It's coming...soon!!

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