GOODBYE, 2009. You won’t be missed.

A year ago, we were peeking at the future with our hands over our eyes, squinting through our fingers at the economic horror show spilling all around us. And I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way, but beyond the genuine hardships and general lousy mood caused by the meltdown, the year seemed exceptionally rife with crummy stuff all around: lost jobs, illness and surgery, frayed relationships, family tragedies, war. Bleah.

I am so done with gloom. So, as 2010 dawns, I’m taking my cue from the kid who encounters a barn full of horse manure and cries out, “There must be a pony in here somewhere!”

Here goes. First, some good news that came out of somber stories appearing in our pages. The judges of the national publishing competition put on by Folio magazine saw fit to bestow on Seattle Met art director Benjamen Purvis a silver medal for feature design " Trap. Neuter. Return. ," a May 2009 article about managing feral cat populations) and senior editor James Ross Gardner a bronze for feature writing (December 2008’s " Things They Lost in the Flood ," a harrowing story of 2007’s devastating winter storms).

And let me call your attention to stories in this month’s issue that rate high in uplift. Scott Macartney, a Seattle ski racer has spent most of his 32 years on mountainsides vying to become one of the fastest skiers on the planet. The two-time Olympian and top World Cup competitor could have died two years ago when a ski jump went spectacularly wrong. But he fought his way back to top form and once again is nurturing Olympic dreams. The 2010 Vancouver Winter Games next month will likely be his last chance to earn an Olympic medal.

On the practical side, you’ll meet “*The Wizard of Eyes*” whose eyeglass frames help people who want to see and be seen differently. And to brighten up the dark days of winter, turn on the lights the way the lighting designers on page 73 do.

And then there’s you. Turn to our cover story to find out why just reading this magazine may benefit your brain and keep your memory sharp. And then check out the other 67 ways to make 2010 your best year yet.

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