Normally, this is the space where I would recap the previous year which would include some words of insight and perhaps wisdom.
Nope, can’t do it this time around.
For me, 2018 is a 12-month time frame I’d absolutely love to forget even took place — on so many levels.
This is not just simply from the many personal and family challenges that were experienced in this time period, it’s the vastness of what has gone on in this region, the province, the country and the world.
It includes witnessing the complete and utter disregard of a 100-plus year old institution that was working very well, then seeing nearly everyone involved pack up and leave. It’s getting close to a year and the hurt, pain and distrust remain for many, no matter how much they attempt to forget.
Then there is the total economic uncertainty — from, will people have a job one week to, will the business as a whole survive to, municipalities needing more funds simply to pay the bills, while others can’t seem to halt their spending as they seemingly drive their residents into the poor house.
Granted, none of that has been helped by the inability of this province’s major industry — energy — to get its revenue streams onto an even keel rather than the roller coaster it has been riding for decades.
All of this has caused some major upsets among a segment of Canadians, dramatically shown through the ‘huge’ truck protests that have taken place recently. However, other than giving the news organizations and pundits something to do as well as satisfying under or unemployed energy sector workers, these events haven’t moved the needle of progress, and aren’t likely to either.
Sure, the federal government has severely hindered that adjustment by botching the review process, but the trouble simply doesn’t lay on the laps of government. Relying too heavily on one economic driver, such as the now floundering auto industry in Ontario, shows just how detrimental it can be if there isn’t some other revenue to make up for a slow-down.
Speaking of something that has grown too big for its britches — and continues to garner far too much worldly influence in my opinion — is whatever social media channel happens to be the soup du jour. And yes, I too see the irony in this statement.
From Twitter — an aptly appropriate name when the syllables are pronounced slowly — that has become the voice of choice from which some pontificate, cause rumours and generally disrupt the planet to Facebook, that has joined the ranks of some major spy agencies in how it has managed to mine information from unsuspecting individuals and businesses only to put out a rather weak — and albeit disdainful — apology that no one believes.
So, what does the following 12 months hold and will it get any better. Not likely.
Let’s start with the most polarizing — the fact Alberta will be bombarded by politicians of all stripes between now and sometime in May when the election has to be held.
Toss in a federal election that must come by October, at the latest, and the spin cycle of promises and posturing being spewed will be more than enough to have divided people even more than before — given what we’ve been pestered in just the past few months.
As for the economy, the only thing many experts agree on is that no one knows what the trend will be in 2019. Especially so with the instability coming from the U.S. — both from the government itself and how it is dealing with other countries.
On the flip side, and to end at least on a positive, I’m glad to still have my family by my side along with a few others that I know would stand with us. I have seen some health improvements, despite the ravages of getting older taking hold, and I am hopeful that other things will make life better soon.
But that is…just an observation.