A Retrospective on 2012

I am a sucker for new year’s resolutions. I like the whole thing – evaluating the year behind and goal-setting for the year ahead. The whole thing is fun for me, but also serves as a sort of motivator and bench-marking tool in terms of the things I want for my life, both personally and professionally. One fun thing about this whole exercise is that enables me to do a retrospective on the prior year, and this enables me to get all nostalgic for a bit. There is no question that 2012 was a memorable year, but it becomes really memorable when you force yourself to go back and look at it piece by piece. The truth is that I met a lot of goals I had for last year, and yet the truth is I am entering 2013 with many of the same goals I had for last year. I will spare you all the details of what weight I lost and gained, and how many hours I vow to log on the treadmill this year. Cliche resolutions notwithstanding, I feel great about 2013, but I always feel great entering a new year – always. But allow me to take a quick trip down memory lane to look at the year that was.

The bad stuff first. I do not have the time to watch sports that I once did, but I have lost no passion for the particular teams I love. Anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with USC football, am a long-time season ticket holder of Angel baseball, have rooted for the Dallas Cowboys since I was 5, have been a Duke basketball junkie since 1990, and bleed purple & gold for my Lakers. For good measure, I should probably mention that I hate Rory McIlroy because I can not understand a word he says, and for some reason have adopted the Tiger Woods’ pursuit of Jack’s majors record as the big sports event of our generation. So, I ask you, how do you think my 2012 went? USC went from a pre-season #1 to the most disappointing season basically of my lifetime. Tiger had a solid year unless it was a Sunday at a major. The Cowboys failed to make the playoffs on the last game of the season last year, AND this year. The Angels had the best player in baseball, AND Albert Pujols, but missed playoffs. The Lakers got booted out of the playoffs by a team from Oklahoma, and then signed a cast of all stars who started this season with a losing record 25 games into the season. Duke lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament. I think you get my point. That 2012 has me crying in a fetal position over my sports loves? No. As a glass half-full guy, I am thinking that, well, 2013 can not get any worse. So there.

The political year was not all that different. I spent the first half of the year sure of the fact that Mitt Romney could never win the Presidency, and I spent the second half of the year sure that he would. I need to trust my first instincts. Actually, despite his loss to the mysteriously inept Barack Obama, Romney proved to be a good (not great) candidate, and the American voters proved to be for sale (in many states). With no gubernatorial or senatorial race to care about in California, I devoted my energies and dollars to Proposition 30 (which I hated) and Proposition 32 (which I loved). Prop 30 passed. Prop 32 failed. And I do not drink. It was a sad night, but sadder for my countrymen and their children than for me. I will be fine. I can’t say the same thing for the state of California, or the kids who get to pay off a $20 trillion credit card.

The rest of the news cycle was boring. The fiscal cliff was Y2K. I don’t even know who won Oscars and Grammys. Europe partied like it was 2008 with their own version of TARP and QE. I don’t know what happened to Lindsay Lohan this year but I suspect it was bad. There were magnificent events (the Olympics) and tragic ones (Newtown). It seems each year the media does more and more to channel our attention to the news around one or two events. The much-talked-about death of the mainstream media was again premature (though it remains inevitable). Rachel Maddow is still hideous. Massachusetts elected a fake Indian as their Senator who once proposed that ATM fees were the cause of the financial crisis. There is nothing new under the sun, indeed.

Family life was wonderful in 2012, and that alone makes up for the miserable year of sports and politics. Sadie began life at Mariners Christian in their Transitional Kindergarten program. She now sings Call me Maybe all the way through and has something in the range of 100 Barbie dolls in her collection. She also gives hugs to her mommy and daddy as if she fears her arms falling off. She seems to have added freckles throughout the year, and she stands alone as the one member of the Bahnsen children who believes in sleeping past 5:45 am. Graham turned two this year, and has advanced his obsession with trucks. He is kicking the soccer ball farther than his 7-year old brother, and has a smile that lights up a room. He also sings Call me Maybe, but that is more disturbing than anything. He is as cute as they make little boys to be, and his mom and I love him with all of our hearts. Mitchell is almost eight years old, and is progressing nicely through the second grade. He is utterly obsessed with the Revolutionary War right now, and seems to me to be a technology genius. He probably knows more about U.S. history than anyone in Congress, but sadly I am not sure that means anything. He loves Jesus, loves his school, loves his country, and truly finds it bizarre that anyone voted for Barack Obama. I am rich with quality of kids. So take that Laker-haters.

Joleen is one-of-a-kind. She is a stay-at-home mom who I think starts off each day with more on her to-do list than the CEO of Hewlett-Packard does. She loves loves loves her kids, is a devoted wife, and makes award-winning Halloween costumes from scratch (like this year’s mailbox and letter to Santa that Graham and Sadie respectively were). She joined me this year once again on a weekend in New York City, a four-day trek to our beloved Palmilla Resort in Los Cabos, and for the first time joined me in the bay area for the annual CCL event. We managed plenty of other trips to the desert and the Surf & Sand and such, and she remains my best friend and life partner. Who needs you Tiger Woods …

2012 was another record year for my business, and The Bahnsen Group enters 2013 with the greatest group of team members I have ever had. I do not talk about business much on this blog but I can only say that God made me for this career, and made this career for me. I am blessed. There you go Lane Kiffin …

I will always think fondly of 2012, just as I have always thought fondly of every year. There were disappointments throughout the year, but the good memories overwhelm the bad ones by a factor of ten. May 2013 be filled with joy and promise for each of you, and Happy New Year.