Let’s go to the video tape

1072349_10201307163300643_87571138_oThe main trouble with years in review is they’re pointless; not meaningless, but lacking in a coherent narrative. They do not make sense of the preceding year, only can take stock of it. Similarly with year end lists, top tens, best of, they all are long versions of “shit happens.” This year, Google automatically generated year in review slideshows for all Google+ users (here’s mine). It was as cohesive a year in review as most, randomly taking photos and videos from your timeline and squishing them together with music. Random generation by a computer was as satisfying as most year’s in review I saw.

The GCFL year in review video, however, was put together more like a sizzle reel, which is extraordinary. It’s point is, what if you had to sell 2013 to someone, a time traveler maybe? What could you do to highlight a year in such a way that it essentially sold they year. Although the video is composed of things that happened in 2013, it is not what it is about. The “point” of the video isn’t that things happened, it is that 2013 was a year of adventure for them, and for specific reasons.

Too often we pelt one another with facts as if they are explanatory all on their own. It’s easy to forget that having a point is about more than possessing a number of facts. Having a point is putting those facts together in such a way that they make sense. Even if they don’t prove anything, they could, at least, suggest something.

That the 2013 Video Rewind┬áis something of a commercial for Good Clean Fun Life is almost irrelevant. Commercials have a narrative, they are rarely pointless, but often meaningless. Here, there is a point (people celebrate in the region and with GCFL intensify as the year goes on, thanks to Todd, Defender of the Brand) and meaning (when you’re the subject of the right camera, you’re never the object of it). This subject/object relationship is the most important part of any year in review, or, to be honest, year in preview. It also has to do with whether or not you say good-bye or good riddance to any give year.

If you feel as if you’re the subject of a year, that you made decisions and executed them, at the end of the year, especially if you’re honest with yourself, you can claim it was a good year. But if you feel as if the year happened to you, if you were completely at the mercy of the annual narrative, you’re going to look dimly on the year that was.

Whether you were the subject or object of 2013, however, is, at this point, both pointless and meaningless. The question at hand is whether you will be the subject or object of 2014. It is not up to 2014. It is up to you.

For my part, as I said in this week’s Todcast, I am currently the subject of the year A.R. 44 and cannot be bothered with Gregorian concerns (except where the IRS is concerned).

This blog is based on Happy Hour Todcast Episode 139 – The first year of the rest of your life.