Warning: This is a completely subjective memoir of the year that was. It’s written off the top of my head. My head, so it’s going to be self-centered.
First the soundtrack:
Not necessarily the best songs of the year, but the ones that will remind me of 2009 for years to come. There are plenty of older songs that fit that description too, but these songs were released 2009 or late 2008.
Then my life:
2009 was the first year I was a full-time journalist. That is, I went to journalism school and survived on various part-time jobs as a journalist and editor. I was no longer a receptionist, tour guide or pointe shoe salesgirl. I was a journalist. That’s probably a milestone.
If I had been told a year ago that 2009 would lead me to court rooms, a strip club, a pscychologist’s office, the make-up and rehearsal rooms of the Norwegian Opera House and more concerts than I’ve attended during the rest of my life combined, I would not have believed it. While 2009 was happening, I kept thinking "2008 was so much more interesting," but looking back over the past 12 months, a lot happened. Nothing as big as moving to Paris and back again or drinking coke in the Cambodian jungle, but a lot of smaller dramas.
2009 was a year of extremes. I stayed up all night and slept all day, and then I got a job that started at 6 AM. I worked constantly and then spent a month doing nearly nothing. I forgot to eat some days and wanted to do nothing but cook on other days. I have been very sad and very happy this year. I have been very efficient and very lazy. I have been very stressed and very relaxed. I have felt invisible and I have been recognized by strangers. In a way, 2008 was the year things happened, and 2009 was the year when the consequences caught up with me, good and bad. And I finish this year feeling better about everything. I don’t think I have been all around happier at the end of a year for as long as I can remember.
In the world as in my own life, 2009 was very much about dealing with the consequences of 2008: The financial crisis continued, the same talk of climate change was repeated in Copenhagen, and Obama became president and eventually won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Besides that I will probably remember the riots in Oslo in January. (Or more precisely, I will remember waking up to five missed calls from my very worried mom. I attended the demo on January 8th, then spent the rest of the night in a basement rock pub oblivious to the broken windows and tear gas above me.)
The Khmer Rouge was on trial, but the story was so buried in other stuff that even I forgot to stay up-to-date on what was going on.
In less violent news, e-books kept popping up in both the news I read and the news I wrote. In February I touched a Kindle for the first time. In May my first article at my journalism internship was about the upcoming release of big-screen e-book-readers. And this Christmas, Amazon sold more e-books than paper books.
Meanwhile print media suffered, particularly the Boston Globe. While I studied the dwindling circulation figures on this side of the Atlantic, it seemed friends in Boston could judge the sad state of print media by the number of crying editors each week. But was it really that sad? I optimistically blogged about the future of journalism (English translation below), earning a somewhat unfair reputation as the only Norwegian journalism student who wants to work online.
Everyone talked about Twitter this year. Many of them specifically to tell me that they were not on Twitter and did not see the point. I found Twitter useful. It helped me get a job, find stories to write, discuss stories I was writing and brag about stories I had written. In other words, I used it as a journalism tool. It’s hard to explain to sceptics why and in what way I think Twitter means something, but I think it does. (Meanwhile everything you need to know about Facebook is still available right here, and still true.)
One hash tag I ended up using a lot was #krevsvar. It started as an outcry over one court ruling on online privacy. Then it turned into a general campaign to "demand answers" (or krev svar in Norwegian) from my country’s politicians about IT politics, particularly piracy vs. privacy. I followed the story through the late spring and summer, and in the fall I attempted to summarize it all for non-IT-geeks.
IT politics ended up mattering very little for Norway’s general election this year. Overall, I think we’ll remember this election as kind of a boring one, no? I remember being more pumped about Cory Doctorow being in Oslo on the day of the election. Not that I don’t care about political debates, but what were we really debating this time around? I argued that our political labels were outdated, coming relatively clean about my own politics in the process. But I still enjoyed the fact that general elections make political geekiness almost universally acceptable conversation. Until one sports-obsessed person pointed out that for every game, soccer fans reach the same level of excitement
I get every fourth year when I wait for election results. (If you can relate to that, you might want to check out a soccer blog called The DA. Apparently, I might write for them sometime. How hilarious is that?)
End of the decade:
My earliest memory of the 2000s is my parents dancing. I don’t remember the beginning of the 1990s. I talked to some friends who are only like two years older than me, and they mentioned the 90s as their defining decade: Although they have obviously moved on, the fashion, music and general pop culture of the 90s is the norm they started out with. I was only 13 when the new milennium began, and so I don’t really feel like I can say anything about the 00s compared to any other time. As far as following culture, politics and fashion, I have really only known this one decade (and I don’t even know the name of the new one). Before that, I was a child. But now I feel nearly old, because I find the following thought scary:
Some blog posts I wrote in 2009:
Welcome to 2010 everyone!