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Dear 2004,

I haven't been as attentive here towards the end as I know I probably should have. But then, my years always seem to end with more of a slow fade than any sort of big send-off. Blame it on circumstance--I always wait until after the turn of the year to leave Iowa, and as a result, I've never really celebrated NYE. Yeah, I know there was that one year in New York, but it was so cold we didn't end up seeing the ball drop. Fact is that if I weren't always awake at midnight anyway, I probably wouldn't bother.

At the same time, I feel like I owe you more than a disinterested shrug. I mean, this was going to be a pretty big year, an end-of-the-tunnel year, right? I did finish a draft of the manuscript, and got a start on a second one. That's pretty solid. I took a real vacation, physically and psychologically, for most of the fall. And it was my first full calendar year with this site--granted, momentum's fallen off a bit lately, but you can't complain too much about that. I honestly didn't believe I'd last more than about six months, enough to say I'd done it and that's all.

Subtract all of the run-of-the-mill, and what else did I accomplish? I'd like to think that I've gotten a little more reflective, in specific ways, and that perhaps I've even added some clarity where before I didn't have it. Most days, that feels like a good thing. I don't know that my life's changed as much as I'd hoped it would a year ago, but perhaps that'll give me enough incentive to change it more than I expect over the next year. Then again, who doesn't say that? How many years have I experienced where I've wished for less change?

Still, all things considered, not bad. Not bad at all. So long, thanks, and I'll see you round the corner.