Reminiscing on 2011

The end of 2011 is nigh.

This upcoming Saturday night, we will mark the end of a momentous year, and not just because some believe it might be our last on earth (let's see what happens on 12/21/12kidding!)

2011 was a year that I believe can't be defined as either positive or negative, as the world saw its fair share of tragedies and miracles. But it's hard to imagine a year more memorable, filled with more historic events or important news stories, in recent years.

Gilad Shalit returned home to Israel. Japan's 9.0 earthquake left thousands dead, missing or homeless. People all across the globe, whether in Egypt or the United States, Greece or Russia, protested dictators, economic inequality and rigged elections. Osama Bin Laden was killed. "Don't Ask Don't Tell" was repealed. The war in Iraq ended after nine years.

The list could go on of course, but you get my point. On a global, macro level, 2011 is an unforgettable year. (See TIME magazine's "Top 10 Photos of 2011" and watch a video of the year's most memorable events.) Even in my own life, 2011 brought several major life changes and amazing opportunities.

Living through a year in which the world dramatically changed in front of my eyes, has left a lasting impact on me. It has made me question who I am, who I want to be and what I am willing to do to bridge that gap. I've had to ask myself what I would stand up and fight for, and attempted to figure out what values and issues matter the most to me.

To be fair, it's natural for most people to ponder those things every December, just as a stale year is to be replaced by a fresh one, with a chance to renew and restart. But I think there's something to the idea that when the world undergoes a transformation, you naturally do as well.

Personally, I want to be more patient in this upcoming year. I want to be more kind, not just in my thoughts, but in my actions. I'm planning on becoming active in volunteering again. I want to commit myself to a yoga practice. I want to strengthen meaningful relationships, and open myself to new ones.

For those of you making New Year's resolutions, good luck! For those of you who aren't, no worries, most people ditch theirs after a few months anyway.

Happy holidays to everyone, and I'll see you in the New Year.

Karina Grudnikov
Join Karina Grudnikov as she explores life in Chicago’s Jewish community.... Read More

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