I will not bore you this year with my list of New Year’s resolutions.
For one thing, it's been done to death. For another, a lot of mine will be meaningless to you and you will not care. But despite the impending Mayan Apocalypse, I feel hopeful, not just that I might keep my resolutions, but about 2012 in general. I haven't felt that way about a new year in a while.
Oh, I've hoped. I hoped 2009 would be better. And 2010. And '11. But for the first time in a while, I'm actually optimistic that the new year might actually be better.
I don't seem to be alone. After I finished the first draft of this column, I spotted an Associated Press poll that said 62 percent of Americans are feeling good about 2012.
For one thing, there are some rumblings out there of better times. Unemployment claims were way down last month, the first time that's happened in quite a while. And new housing starts were way up, another rare happening in the past few years. I think even the most real estate challenged among us now realizes how important that is to the economic engine.
And gas is down a little. I know it's not $2 a gallon, a price that would really help turn things around, and though it's creeping back up, it's not nearly $4 like it was a few months ago, and at least that's something.
Politically, well, that's a little trickier. I feel like the electorate is finally fed up to the point that it could -- emphasis on could -- make a few better choices this coming election year. Then again, given past history and the slate of clowns running for office this go around, that might be a little too hopeful. So politically let's call me slightly less pessimistic.
Socially, some of the stories I heard at Christmas of people helping others took my mind off some of the horrors of this world and kept me thinking the average person is still basically good.
Internationally, we finally turned out the lights in one quagmire in Iraq. Maybe this, too, is a little optimistic, but as the stepfather of a soon-to-be Marine recruit, I'm going to hope that maybe we'll figure a way out of the other one in 2012.
Personally, while I will keep my promise not to bore you with my resolutions, I will say that I made a couple of changes in my life in 2011 that seem to be sticking, so I'm optimistic I'll be able to build on that in 2012.
And globally, I don't believe one iota in the Mayan Apocalypse, but I believe firmly in the ability of people who do believe to keep me entertained between now and Dec. 21.
And if you haven't made your resolutions yet, here's one: Be hopeful.
Who knows? Maybe it'll catch on.
Email Nate McCullough at email@example.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.