Updated: February 5, 2013 6:27AM
As we enter a new year, we look both back and ahead, trying to ascertain what we’ve learned and accomplished during the past 12 months.
There was plenty of mayhem, miracles and misery that left us shaking our heads, including heartbreaking tragedy in recent months — the Newtown shootings, Hurricane Sandy, the attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya. Illinois remains a fiscal and political mess, struggling to avoid drowning in a sea of debt and bankrupting its future.
But we re-elected a president, avoided going over the “fiscal cliff” and saw a continued economic recovery and the stock market turn in a strong year. Thankfully, the Mayans were wrong.
Our soldiers departed Iraq and are coming home from Afghanistan, with the trickle expected to become a deluge by this time next year.
We also now have a national health insurance model that withstood scrutiny from a conservative Supreme Court. Our medical advances continue to amaze. By the way, the world’s oldest identical twins — Chicago-born Charlotte Eisgrou and Ann Primack — turned 103 Monday and are fit and feisty. The chances improve every day that you might reach 100, too. A girl born this year has a one-in-three chance of reaching her 100th birthday; a boy a 25 percent chance.
We mourn the roster of lost icons, including Dave Brubeck, Neil Armstrong, Andy Griffith, Ray Bradbury, Whitney Houston, Phyllis Diller, Helen Gurley Brown and Sally Ride.
Life is a rambunctious roller coaster, and we are born to ride it, yelling at the top of our collective lungs. And then we leave it as quickly as we arrived. We’ve endured as a country once again. Maybe that’s the most impressive feat of all, considering that we often seem bent on blowing up the republic.
Our optimism is reason enough to celebrate the rite of passage into a new annum. Come on, 2013. We hope your 365 days will be better than the preceding ones. We aren’t superstitious about the number 13. Give us your best shot. We could use the help.