by Pete Mazzaccaro

This issue is the last that will carry a 2014 date stamp. Our next issue will be the first of 2015.

At the Local, we’re busy preparing a look back at the stories of 2014 – a retrospective of the notable people and events that populated these pages in the last year.

Doing so is always a disorienting process. We all often comment on how fast a year seems to pass. We say things like, “I can’t believe it’s already Christmas.” But when looking back at stories from the earlier part of the year, the events of January, February and March seem so much further in the past than 10 to 12 months.

Think about all the things that happened in 2014, if you can pull yourself away from that 1,000th Facebook comment you were about to write regarding the shelving of James Franco and Seth Rogen’s “The Interview.”

We’re still talking about other news stories of the very recent past – the aftermath of grand jury decisions not to indict police involved in the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York. We’re also struggling with the recent killings of two police officers by a man who thought those jury decisions justified his actions.

Other things from midyear and earlier seem more distant.

While we were distracted by Ferguson, our military was continuing to direct air strikes against ISIS, the “pop-up” Islamic republic that sprang from the chaos of the Syrian civil war to claim half of that country, a healthy chunk of Iraq and threaten Turkey. Seems as if that authorization came some time ago, but it just began in September – four months ago.

Harder to remember is this summer’s Ice Bucket challenge craze. The Ice Bucket challenge was a mostly YouTube and Facebook-fueled stunt in which people would challenge friends and relatives to douse themselves in ice water or donate to a charity combating ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. From July to August this past summer, millions viewed challenge videos and donated to ALS foundations, which raised more than $100 million.

This summer was also the stage for the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team that did better than many expected in the World Cup, beating Ghana, almost beating Portugal before giving up a goal for a draw and managing to hold on for a draw against eventual Cup winner, Germany. In a first-round knockout loss to Belgium many will remember U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard who set a cup record with 16 saves. It’s hard to believe that happened less than six months ago.

Beyond that, news of the earlier part of the year seems so long ago. The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The crazy fad that was Flappy Bird. Remember the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370? It dominated cable news and resulted in the most expensive nautical search in history. The remains of that plane were never found. Remarkably, that story, which seems so long ago to me now, was in March of this year – only nine short months ago.

It might be hard to take the time to reflect on the year as we rush around for the holidays, convinced that our time is always passing by so quickly. But the truth is, there’s an awful lot of time in a year. There’s enough for remarkable events to take place, capture all of our attention and fade from memory almost completely. So take the time to appreciate the now. It will be gone before you know it.