I have no deep insights on the last decade, or even the last year; while the decade as a whole was one of the most horrible ever for the country and the world at large, it was actually a pretty good one for me personally.
I learned more about myself in these last ten years than I ever learned previously; from the age of 35 to 45, I have become more centered, more relaxed, and somehow more intelligent. I can (mostly) control my temper, and I have somehow become the rational, reasonable, level-headed one that people actually want to listen to the opinions of. Not to say I don't still fly off the handle once in a while, but it's not like it was then.
I went from around 260 pounds to 158 pounds (current weight, give or take). I have learned to not only exercise, but enjoy it. I finished a novel and won a real national writing award for it. I have collected a respectable pile of rejection slips on it. I got myself out of credit card debt and got myself into a much more admirable mortgage debt and finally got our house remodeled. I learned to, more or less, live within my means. When I buy things on credit, I pay them off in a timely, reasonable manner (such as the recently-stolen flat-screen TV and this computer I'm typing on).
I'm still driving the same truck I bought in 1992. I still love the color green. I'm still a spoiled brat and get unreasonable and pouty when I don't get my own way. I still eat far too much chocolate and I'm still a procrastinator (which is why it's been over a year since the last rejection slip--of course, I'm also a little discouraged there, too).
Over the decade, I've gone from exclusively watching sitcoms and science fiction to loving the hour-long drama (something I blame Buffy and Angel for, really, although there were one or two before then that attracted my attention). I fell in love with many, and most have gone away in just that short time. I made two major technological discoveries that changed my life to the point where I don't know how I got by before they were invented, the iPod and Tivo. (I saw on one news show that the iPod was at the top of inventions that changed the decade, but DVRs didn't make the list.)
I became a Dr. Who fan (I liked the show before the re-launch, but I became a FAN this decade). I found Netflix indispensable for renting old TV series and watching them through (Farscape, Six Feet Under, Deep Space Nine, as well as old Dr. Who eps, etc.).
Discovered the boundless joy of LOL Cats.
I got to pet a lion.
I went to Mexico and the Bahamas.
I've seen almost every Cirque de Soleil show in Las Vegas.
I advanced at work to nearly the top of my level (support staff), moving from word processing to imaging and becoming the secondary lead worker. I've gone through four or five supervisors and outlasted them all. I've only interviewed for one other position, however. But I did pass a series of exams and gain an insurance certification, which means I could move across into claims if I ever do hit the ceiling.
I watched an American president systematically destroy my sense of patriotism, make me wince when I hear such phrases as "God bless America" and ruin for me certain songs I used to love. Some of it came back this last year after the end of that administration and the start of the new one, but I'm still far more cynical and far less optimistic than I was at the turn of the century. I'm delighted that the "decade of W" is over, but it's going to be a long time before the scars it's left are healed.
I started LiveJournal and met a lot of wonderful, wonderful friends via this electronic world link. I started MySpace and met a few more. I wrote for a fairly major website and met a lot of fantastically talented men and women who should get a lot more exposure than they do. I joined Facebook and found friends I hadn't seen in twenty years and reunited with my best friend from high school.
And I finally married my lovely wife, who has put up with me through all of this.
I'm trying to regain my general optimism as I face the next decade, and mostly, I just hope I find someone, anyone, willing to give me a chance and publish my book. My only "New Year's Resolution" is to make a real attempt to actually SAVE some money instead of spending every spare cent I get every two weeks. I don't want things like property taxes and insurance to sneak up on me again!
Happy New Year to all!