I love a new year. January 1st always seems to present new opportunities to make changes, fulfill goals and dreams, to resolve to be awesome and to live life. A lot of people are anti-resolution - I happen to like them. I'll be right back in the gym with everyone else on Tuesday - vowing to take off this five pounds I've gained since the Mrs. Texas pageant. I resolve to write that screenplay I've had sitting in my head for a couple of years. Time to update my website www.dawnneufeld.com. I've got lots of goals, bucket list items to start checking off - no time like the present, the beginning of a new year, to start working towards some of these goals.
Of course, I can't look forward into 2013 (13 is my lucky number - it's going to be a great year) without taking a look back at 2012. What a year it was! Here is my list of things that will define 2012 for me:
The 2012 Summer Olympics
Team USA represented well at this summer's Olympics. I love it when a country comes together and shows its national pride by supporting and rooting for our athletes. From the medal drama in the pool between Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps to the women's gymnastics team representing (Gabby Douglas fan here), it was a good run for Team USA! Our team brought home 104 medals (46 gold, 29 silver, 29 bronze).
In the days leading up to Hurricane Sandy, I heard a scientist from the National Weather Service say, "This storm will kill people." Sure enough, when the hurricane hit the east coast in late October, at least 125 people lost their lives and the left unconscionable damage in its path. The subway system in NYC was flooded, neighborhoods in New Jersey wiped out. I heard another commentator on the news say storms like this used to happen once ever 100 years. Now they are happening once every couple of years. Hope we don't see another one like Sandy for a very long time.
The Space Shuttle Endeavour Heads Home
Who can forget the iconic images of the Endeavour space shuttle piggybacking it's way across the country to it's permanent home in Los Angeles. I'm sure this was a sight to see in person.
In "sickest news of the year," former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted in October on 45 charges stemming from the sexual abuse of young boys over a 15 year period. The disgraced coach will spend the rest of his life in prison. Jerk.
George Zimmerman Murders Unarmed Teen Trayvon Martin
On February 26, 2012, overzealous community patrolman George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Sanford, FL. The unarmed teen was walking back from a convenience store with snacks in hand when Zimmerman called the police to report a suspicious man with a hoodie on walking through the neighborhood. Zimmerman ignored the 911 dispatcher's instructions to stay in his car and let the police handle the matter. Instead, he pursued the 17-year-old boy and eventually shot and killed him after an altercation. Zimmerman is facing charges and is claiming self-defense under Florida's extremely flawed stand-your-ground law. The case exposed racial tensions in this country. I was invited to speak about the case on Jane Velez Mitchell's show on Headline News.
Junior Seau's Suicide
I was sitting at work when I heard the news that Junior Seau had apparently committed suicide. Junior's death was terribly shocking and sad - I had the pleasure of working with Junior back in the day when I worked at Rodney Peete's company. While his death was devastating, it brought needed attention to the plight of pro-football players after they leave the game. It's still to be determined if Junior was suffering from CTE (it may have been determined but as far as I know, such information has not been released to the public).
Whitney Houston's Death
Many notable celebrities passed away this year (including actors like Larry Hagman and Sherman Helmsley), but none of the deaths stunned the way Whitney Houston's death did. Whitney died from a drug overdose back in February. Her passing reminded my a lot of how I felt after Michael Jackson passed away - too much talent, gone way too soon. I was a big Whitney fan. She will be missed.
Mass Shootings - Aurora, CO and Newtown, CT
Several mass shootings occurred in 2012, but the shootings in Aurora and Newtown really rocked this nation. In Aurora, a gunman killed 12 people in a movie theater. It's crazy to think anything could trump that, but the murders of 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown by a disturbed 20-year-old killer a couple of weeks ago did just that. I cannot seem to get the faces of those little ones out of my head. I truly hope that our country doesn't forget, and we can enact meaningful laws to try to keep tragedies like this from happening in the future.
The 2012 presidential election tops my list of the defining moments/happenings of 2012. President Obama won re-election after an intense and often times ugly campaign season. This election exposed the divisiveness in our country. It was the Republicans vs. the Democrats, us vs. them, pro-lifers vs. pro-abortion peeps, the haves vs. the have-nots, the 47% vs. everyone else.
The election was quite troubling for me. I was very happy that President Obama was re-elected, but the hate and ignorance I witnessed were mind-boggling. From terms like "legitimate rape" being thrown around by candidates to the "N-word" trending on Twitter the night of the election, it's clear we as a nation have a lot of work to do.
On a personal note, here are some notables that defined 2012 for me:
Team Will raising over $5,000 for the DFW Walk Now for Autism Speaks
Attending my 10-Year Law School Reunion at UC Davis School of Law
Making Top 5 at Mrs. Texas (winning the Best Interview and Career Achievement Awards)
And probably my greatest accomplishment this year, beating out a bunch of cute young chicks to Grace the Cover of the DFW.com 2012 Hot Issue!!!
And of course, how can I forget Fixing Will...
It was a truly amazing year and I look forward to what 2013 has in store for me. Bring it!