To close my portion of our family's annual newsletter, I wrote:
This year  was certainly not what I expected it would be looking forward from December 31, 2011, and in some ways it was a "lost year."
Now here I sit on December 31, 2012, looking forward at 2013, unsure how I should couch my expectations for the next 365 days. Some friends are firmly in the "2012 wore out its welcome in June, and 2013 can't get here fast enough" camp and others are hoping that 2012 does not end because it was such a banner year. Just to be clear, we want to stick those people's hands in hot water while they are asleep.
Is there a box to check that says "I hope things get better in 2013" while simultaneously saying "I hope things don't get worse in 2013"?
An optimism option that describes this situation: The boat is rocking, but still making some forward progress. Putting up the sail could make the boat go faster, but it also risks cap-sizing the boat completely.
Explorers and cartographers in history would mark unexplored portions of maps with "Here Be Dragons." They had experienced enough to know that the then-already-explored oceans were dangerous and unpredictable, and heretofore unknown oceans would likely be similar - and potentially worse. These philosopher-explorers marked those parts of the globe - nearly 50% of it sometimes - with the worst "potentially worse" they could think off: the home of devastating, terrifying mythical beasts.
And then they got into their boats and headed off to see what color the dragons were.
The pull of knowing what is just around the continent or the turn of the calendar page cannot be denied.
So here I sit, in my dinghy, ready to take on dragons.