As 2015 clunks to a broken down close just in time to be traded in for a shiny new 2016 there’s something of an expectation that media outlets provide a year in review. Although I’ve written just fewer than 10 of them, the year in review column never has been a chore, because it always has been personal, and so will it be this year as well. Not to say that there isn’t a place for the standard years in review. They are a necessity. All of the best ones, written by some of the best writers working, take either a serious or ironic look at the past 12 months. What I propose to do is something different and possibly even unique. My year in review is Delmarva-centric.
Over the coming months, we here at OceanCity.com will be cultivating an even deeper cache of beach memories without nostalgia. That is, we will be celebrating the experience of memory more than “the way things used to be.” We will be asking you to write and share your memories, both as they happen and as you happen to remember them.
I am not so rude as to expect that you will share your memories with me if I have not shared at all with you, so this year in review also will serve as an introduction of a kind. This is me, and these are the kinds of things I write and take photos of. As a side note, in going through my stories and photos from the previous year, it occurred to me that I took a Kardashian-level number of selfies this year. Most of the photos were goofy or illustrative, but I really should be better looking for the amount of photos I take of myself, as if this whole project isn’t self-indulgent enough.
But back to memories:
It is customary to take stock of one’s life at the end of each calendar year. You are supposed to ask where you wanted to be and what you wanted to do and measure your accomplishments against your hopes from the year before. There is nothing wrong, per se, with this process but I follow another one, and before this lengthy (lengthy) essay begins, I wanna talk to you about it.
What if taking stock was focused on the memories you made and how singular they were? Let’s call it “padding your obituary.” I like to ask myself what I did to make memories, what kind of effect I had on my own remembrance of this time in my life.
As we get older, and if we’re lucky, we get a sense that we want to look back on as few regrets as possible. We want to say that, no matter how banal the opportunities presented us in a given year were, that we took chances when it was wise and when it was unwise. We want to say that we didn’t let opportunities to expand our experience pass.
Still we do. For example, this year has come and gone and I still have not mastered the unicycle, although there is one in my closet daring me to learn to ride it. Setting my unicycle failure aside, I had a pretty good year. My job, generally for the last decade or more, as been to trace the breaking history of the region. I’ve done it well and poorly, but mostly I took it seriously.
So strap in, and scroll through your own photos, and let’s think about opportunities and chances missed and taken, and how effectively everyday life burns through 365 days without even trying too hard.
Let’s begin with January…