I know it's a bit cliché to wax poetic about the passage of time, but 2011 has been one of those years that swung from January to December in a blink of an eye. One moment I'm looking eagerly to all that lies ahead in 2011, the next we are four days away from ringing in 2012.
So let's take a look back. The year has been filled with many changes, both personally and professionally. Through Buffalo Unscripted we've learned about how one city embraces preservation in its daily life, and we've seen preservation victories across the country with two in my home state of Virginia: Wilderness Battlefield and Fort Monroe.
It's also been another year where I've had the privilege to write here on the PreservationNation blog about subjects that I’m passionate about. My favorite post of the year? It's a toss-up between one I wrote a few weeks back about the materiality of preservation and a look at how preservation was portrayed on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother.
After looking back at my resolution post from last year, I realized that I accomplished all three, though not in the way I envisioned when I wrote them.
- Attend an off-the-beaten track exhibition every month. Sure, it wasn’t every month, but I did succeed in seeing a few inspirational displays of culture and history. These included seeing a poetry slam inspired by historical art, a month long culture fest on India at the Kennedy Center in DC, impressive architectural displays of Buffalo, NY and wandering around Staunton, VA's main street on my birthday.
- “Get my hands dirty” with an on the ground preservation project. Once again I did this in my own fashion. As an attendee of Preservation Leadership Training in Virginia I was able to catch a glimpse of what one of these projects look like as we worked in teams to re-imagine Woodlawn Plantation for the 21st century.
- Continue to strive toward a sustainable lifestyle. A carryover from my 2009 resolution, I made some significant changes when I moved to a walkable neighborhood in August, while continuing to make my family and friends more conscious of the world in which they live.
So what about 2012?
Preservation is, at its root, a practice of the soul. Those of us who work or even just dabble in the practice believe in its ability to better lives in a real and visceral way. Preservation gives us pride in our community, our families, and our homes.
That’s why I see a year filled with opportunity - one where we take a hard look at our challenges and work to find new ways of making an impact, changing minds, and reaching out.
It is also a year of looking change straight in the eye, seeing where new roads can take us, and looking for the small acts where I can make a difference. Because, to quote/change/mangle a popular holiday movie - ”Preservation, actually is all around.”
So my 2012 Preservation Resolution is to not back down, to be inventive, to be engaged, and to look outside every box to find workable solutions in a challenging environment. For 2012 I vow to make connections and find tools that will allow preservationists to be all that they can be - to turn opportunity into something tangible.
And so, as the clock tick-tick-ticks away into 2012, it is now your turn: What are your preservation resolutions?