2007 is over, and I wonder, as you reflect back with me today, if you feel the last 12 months were more joyous or just bloodier than 2006?


As I wonder back, 2007 seems particularly depressing and bloody on the national stage and world platform.

Did
it seem every time you turned around, woke up, changed television
channel, or turned the radio dial — you were inundated with breathless
reporting on who had been beaten up or what was killed and how many people were slaughtered — and did you begin wonder why we had to know about so much misery every day all day long?

We could not escape death!
Is it possible to prospect for personal joy in the midst of universal human dismay?
Is it selfish to be happy in the misery of others?
Was 2007 generally joyous for you — or do you feel as if you were drowned in blood?
Will 2008 be any different?

20 Comments

  1. Until this morning my personal year has been more on the joyous side. Sadly many of my close personal friends have had very bad year – struggling with personal loss, serious illness and financial problems.
    Outside of my personal sphere however I think it has been very bloody indeed – on many levels – to the extent that I personally am not sure what it means to be British or even IF I want to be British any more.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing, Nicola, and it was always a joy in a bloody world to listen to you share rich stories from your childhood with her at the center.
    There did seem to be an overarching ominousness around the world in 2007 and in my friends as well. I don’t know if that is a natural part of the aging process as life begins to take on a unique preciousness — or if the world really did start its irrevocable slide down the tar pit.
    Your wondering about your Britishness is amazing. We always see the UK as buried in history and tradition and, above all, grace and normalcy and honor and identity. For you to express uncertainty in the core of your nation is a great concern — especially since you all have been in the world longer than us, and wielding more influence, than the USA. Your history quickly becomes our future.

  3. Thank you for your kind thoughts – I am so glad of those memories – they are a fundamental part of me.
    I am not sure age is the only reason – a lot of the people who are having problems are considerably younger than I am.
    I still think of myself as British – but Britain itself is changing and not always for the better. Even my children feel it is changing and now in ways that they like either.
    I will try and pinpoint the causes/reasons. I need to think on that one.

  4. Yes, Nicola, it does seem saying “hello” to a friend lately gets a sad return on the salutation investment. People generally feel unhappier lately. That sadness may become the new hallmark of our times.
    If you come up with some reasons for the decline of Britishness in the UK, we’d love to hear them — and if you blow ’em out into a full article for your blog, I can see the title now: “Why I’m More British than the UK!” 😉

  5. Hi David! Before I blab on, I want to wish you a very Happy New Year and may it be a better than the last. 2007 has been a good mixture of both good and bad on the personal front, and from one side of extreme to another! It was pretty heady actually. One side I was enjoying my semi retirement life at 38, next jolted by a messy divorce and a few other stuff..
    Outfront, Ive seen so many political and radical economical changes in Malaysia which will definitely effect business people like me. Speculations on rising cost of living haunts so many people on the street. Makes me worry too. A lot.
    There were so many deaths this year out on the international news. Not good. Just hope for a better 2008.

  6. Heya Hanie!
    Thanks for the good wishes for the New Year and I send my best thoughts your way as well!
    One of the joys of the year on this blog was the light of meeting you! I love your outlook on life and your indomitable strength in your sunshine.
    It’s interesting how the pendulum moved for you in 2007 —
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2006/02/16/the-sht-and-the-pendulum/
    — I hope things are swinging out of it and back into the good stuff for you! 😀
    It seems the world over — except, perhaps, for China — is uneasy about the economy.
    In the USA, citizens are awash in incredible credit card debt. Most people carry around $25,000.00 USD in personal card debt and if they begin to default on those cards as they have on their mortgages… the banks will start to bleed streams instead of rivulets… add to that a running total of $25,000.00 USD SO FAR for the Iraq war that each citizen will have to bear in future taxes and you can quickly see the USA in in for some harsh reality checking in 2009.

  7. David: I wasnt very much a believer in blogging before this, trust me. But somehow these life-altering situations have definitely changed my mind! In participating with intelligent postings, exchanging and learning new things, especially here, are one of the highlights of the year too. 😉
    The post you pointed my way was great. It fits the description of “my” pendulum and steps Ive taken to avoid a collision with it 😉
    OTH, 40% of Malaysian fresh graduates are slaves to the banks now. They are in credit card debts than runs till their neck, no, nose..and barely breathing too. Im done with my cards years ago and is now a proud credit cardless person. Cash and debit card, at least for me, is the way to go.
    The Central Bank Of Malaysia has come up with Credit Counselling And Debt Management Agency (http://www.akpk.org.my/) to counsel fellow Malaysians on..well…credit and debt management. I laud this move as not so many people know about wealth management.
    I need a good holiday soon. Sigh.

  8. Hanie!
    Yes, blogging has its benefits for creating coalitions and making shared interests and even as arenas where differing points of view can be calmly expressed if done right. There is great power in words and blogging can tap into that great human resource.
    We’re all on our own pendulums and we cannot escape the good or the bad in the swing of life — they both need to be evenly weighted or else we will pay for it later in our deaths.
    Oh, right! I didn’t even get into the tremendous student load debt we all have now. The average is around $100,000.00 USD through the completion of an advanced degree. That debt is troublesome and incredible and unforgiving.
    I’m so glad you are done with credit cards! They are truly evil! We are almost done with ours. Just a few more moments and we can cut them up, too.
    It’s wonderful the bank is helping people not get lost — that should help mitigate the ensuing despair.
    I hope your holiday season is as fruitful as you wish!

  9. Oish!! Thats a lot of debt to carry, might even not done with repayment till death claims you! I finally decided to end my torturer…I mean the issuing credit card banker after one day lapse of repayment. An idiot from the collection dept called me a “bitxx” and that was it! I walked to their place, grabbed a scissor, cut both Visa and Mastercard into two, calmly placed them on the officer’s table together with total due.
    3 years later, I still receive their statement – I still owe them 50 sens.
    A holiday is definitely on my top list.

  10. You’re right, Hanie, that many students today will never be able to repay their higher education debt — and to what end?
    They will not work jobs that serve their major in order to try to repay their ballooning debt payments, and many will never be able to own a home or get a high credit score to get a lower interest rate.
    As you know — credit is a revolving circus with no way out unless you have the stamina and determination you so righteously expressed with your scissors! 😀

  11. David,
    I have found that besides scissors, the greatest tool in eliminating credit card debt is a simple spreadsheet program! You can chart out months or even years of payments and it’s simple to see how even a few dollars – burrito money, as it were, added to every month can substantially help us free ourselves.

  12. It’s how I took advantage of Sony’s 0% financing for 12 months and paid off my computer with not a penny of interest!
    Then there are always debt management programs. If you have a lot of credit card debt, they will get your accounts suspended and convince all your creditors to lower your interest substantially so long as you pay a certain amount every month. I know a few people who saved several thousand dollars in interest by doing that. No joke.

  13. Gordon —
    That’s smart! You played the game the right way and I’m sure Sony is furious with you for beating the house! 😀
    Debt programs are wonderful, but people who are caught still tend to be in denial for a long time until they start losing property. They use other cards to pay the balance on other cards and it becomes a really intimate sort of round-robin with no way out.
    I have a lot of attorney friends and the bankruptcy lawyers say 99% of the clients they serve would have been much better off financially if they’d come in 6 months sooner. Their mistake is in waiting too long and things become desperate and the debt collectors are on the howl.

  14. One way I found out is to actually talk to the evils..I mean to the bankers and propose what you can pay and will allow you to defer or discount the interest as well. Does the bank system there receptive over this sort of arrangements?
    I agree with Gordon on the simple spreadsheet but sometimes when hard times befell (like losing a job or losing contracts..) then they only way is to go talk to those people.

  15. Hi Hanie —
    Yes, the banks prefer it if you ask for a deal than just run from them. Many of them will work with you to work through all your debts.
    Just beware that if you express doubt about your finances to one bank, the next day every bank and credit card you own will basically be cancelled and they will start looking for ways to press you to pay them.
    It’s a terrible system where the banks have all the power and the people have none.