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Another year, another whatever. What can I say? I’m not really a fan of the “end of year” retrospectives or top ten countdowns, so I’m not going to do that. Some bad things happened, some good things happened. I will say that this year has given me changes in abundance. Fun fact: exactly one year ago, I was on a plane somewhere over the Pacific.

So, instead of dwelling in the past, as is typical of any historian, let’s throw everyone for a loop and take a look ahead.

Several new governments are setting up shop around the world. The new Egyptian democracy has already done what U.S. foreign policy has worked for decades to avoid and installed a religious party to run the government. As it turns out, years of tyrannical (though secular) leadership tends to leave nasty aftereffects. Who knew? Another situation that made headlines (and hopefully retains some name recognition) was in Libya. Their civil war was well covered by the media for a time, so hopefully most people know what I’m talking about. Both conflicts were an interesting application of U.S. foreign policy (in the same sense that it is interesting to view a train wreck) and this year we get to see if these countries fall back into dictatorship.

American politics…oh, American politics. So many things to look forward to this year. The primary so far has been playing out like an episode of the Colbert Report. Then I realize that everyone is actually being serious and my laughter turns to abject horror. The media has done their job of shamelessly hyping the elections to a fever pitch; they’re trying to make it sound like Obama is worried right now, but if I were president, I would read about the election to brighten my day. In other news, we get to finally see if members of a sharply divided Congress can finally reconcile their superficial differences and finally stop trying to sabotage the American economy. Well, not really. Actually we’ll get to see the Republicans threaten to shut down the government if they don’t get their way and the Democrats shuffle their feet, muttering “aw, shucks” before going along with it. Fun year ahead.

I’ll devote a little space to popular culture, since I’m such the expert. It was a good year for music. So much so, that I have very low expectations for 2012. The only event I’m looking forward to is buying one of the best albums ever for less than $50 when it’s finally distributed in the States. I have similar expectations for movies, though for different reasons. Scorsese, Spielberg, and Niccol all released films this year and they were all mediocre. One more year for The Hobbit.

Of course, I also have my personal hopes for the year, which I won’t share now. If I achieve it, maybe I’ll post about it. Happy new year.

Photo courtesy of Tyler Blakley.