The more the years change, the more they stay the same

by | Dec 30, 2012 | Comment, Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

It’s the last weekend of the year. Everyone is looking back, analyzing and ranking.

I’ve given this some thought. I’ve combed through the headlines from last January to December.

Here, then, is my 2012 Year in Review:

The president was re-elected. We argued over the outcome.

The Affordable Care Act was upheld. We argued over the cost.

Three states voted in gay marriage. We argued over the future.

A man shot up a theater. We argued over guns.

A man shot up a school. We argued over guns.

A man shot a teenager during a neighborhood watch. We argued over guns.

We never resolved the arguments.

A football coach was convicted of abusing children. We pointed fingers.

A bicyclist was accused of cheating. We pointed fingers.

LeBron James played his heart out. Fans criticized him.

Tim Tebow didn’t play at all. Fans criticized him, too.

Tom Cruise split from his wife.

Johnny Depp split from his girlfriend.

Kristen Stewart split from her boyfriend.

And we acted as if it truly mattered.

A few stars left our galaxy

“The Avengers” outsold every movie. Critics called it cartoonish.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” outsold every book. Critics called it filthy.

“Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” out-buzzed every TV show. Critics called it garbage.

Whitney Houston died.

Dick Clark died.

Donna Summer, Andy Griffith and Davy Jones died.

Each was immortalized – for about a week.

Actors had sex scandals; it made them more popular. A general had a sex scandal; it ruined his career.

Athletes signed deals for $100 million and were cheered as “worth every penny.”

Businessmen made deals for $100 million and were jeered as “greedy industrialists.”

The L.A. Kings won an unexpected championship. Most people were happy about it.

The Miami Heat won an expected championship. Most people were unhappy about it.

A British duchess got pregnant.

A British prince got naked in Las Vegas.

Windows 7 begat Windows 8.

iPhone 4 begat iPhone 5.

The iPad begat the iPad Mini.

Facebook stock was the hottest offering in the history of world.

Then it came out.

And it wasn’t.

A broken record, in a sense

An Arab nation fell into civil unrest.

An Israeli-Palestinian conflict erupted.

The war in Afghanistan continued.

All three were true the year before, as well.

An earthquake hit the Philippines.

An earthquake hit Iran.

A hurricane hit the East Coast.

And more people died in Haiti.

Olympic records were broken.

Weather records were broken.

Cost-of-gas records were broken.

A man dove 23 miles through the sky.

A man dove 36,000 feet underwater.

The end of the world was predicted.

The end of the world did not happen.

When all was said and done, 2012 was completely different from years before it, yet very much the same, because certain things are true no matter how long we live:

News stories come, news stories go; nothing is as great as it sounds and nothing is as bad. Technology is replaced by more technology; celebrities replace previous celebrities; science discovers something, then searches for something else.

And the only thing that truly affects your year is how you lived within your own house, how you treated and were treated by your loved ones, and how you helped the people and community around you.

Judged by that, how was your 2012?

Contact Mitch Albom: 313-223-4581 or Catch “The Mitch Albom Show” 5-7 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760). Follow him on Twitter @mitchalbom. To read his recent columns, go to


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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