In my corner of the world, 2008 is on its last legs. A few hours more and calendars will be turned, countdowns will cease and the streets will explode in a riotous frenzy of celebration. (I hate that part – firecrackers and me don’t mix.) As I write this, our kitchen is a hive of activity with vast quantities of fresh produce being processed into a midnight feast worthy of the occasion. Once more proving that not everyone is born with the right to sing in public, the family across the street – including one evil child with a voice that could’ve blown out the windows in President Bush’s limousine – is busy massacring popular songs on a karaoke machine while everyone within a quarter mile of their garage cringes in silent horror. From somewhere in the distance, a few early birds have begun to loose volleys of fireworks to welcome the new year, and the acrid scent of gunpowder starts to suffuse the cool evening air.
I’m thankful to have lived through this exciting year. I’ve had some rather important personal experiences during the last 365 days, both happy and painful: quitting my first job since graduating from uni (NB: I count this as a happy experience 😉 ); witnessing, by virtue of my position within the financial services sector, the unravelling of Wall Street and the global economy from an almost front-row perspective; experiencing my first Traditional Latin Mass (which I now attend regularly); losing an uncle to cancer and another relation to old age, and other people I was acquainted with to various causes (probably more than in any previous year).
As an anime enthusiast, 2008 was also a watershed year in many respects. For one thing, it was my first full year of anime blogging since ディエゴの日々 was founded back in December 2006 (I started updating this site regularly in June of last year so 2007 doesn’t count). I also had my first taste of group blogging, thanks to an invitation from Wolf Hurricane‘s founder. A post on Destroying All Monsters turned me into a Saimoe junkie. I was extremely busy with work for much of the year and so didn’t have the time to follow a lot of series, but that hasn’t stopped me from racking up a whole new list of favourites: Toradora!, Eve no Jikan, Natsume Yuujin-chou and many others. In my journeys through the Internet I discovered a lot of anime blogs both new and old, and in the process made the acquaintance of people from different parts of the globe.
With so much to look back on, good and bad, it’s no wonder that 2008 resonates so loudly and beautifully in my head – more so than any year I can remember apart from 2005 (another huge year in personal terms, but I won’t talk about that now). 2009 will be a very challenging time for many of us, no doubt, but as the clocks of the world measure out the final hours of 2008 and the last twelve months fade into history, I remain steadfast in the belief that whatever happens tomorrow and beyond, the best is yet to come.
Happy New Year, everyone.
Note: The header image came from here.