Maybe it was superstorm Sandy, whose repercussions continue to blow holes in our household budgets and erode our confidence about where and how well we'll live in the future.
Maybe it was the presidential campaign, a brutal windstorm in its own right, that seemed as if it would last forever.
Maybe it's the long-running adventure series in Washington, where the train keeps roaring toward the "fiscal cliff" while the good guys and the bad guys mostly pound away at each other.
Maybe it's the national recession, which officially ended in June 2009 but keeps hanging around like a low-grade fever.
Maybe it's the repetition of subway pushing incidents in the news.
Or maybe it's the awful realization that some profoundly disturbed person in a place like Newtown, Conn., or Aurora, Colo., or Webster, N.Y., can cause such violence and despair so easily.
Whatever the reasons, we're glad to close the books on 2012. Good riddance to a troubling time. Our hope is that maybe -- at long last -- 2012 was the time when we all hit bottom.
Maybe 2012 will show us just how starkly the politics of polarization and denial has failed us. And maybe in 2013 we can get on with the formidable task of creating a future that works for everyone.
Who knows? Maybe we'll see an economy that builds real steam. Maybe we can accept that the era of extreme weather has arrived and rebuild what Sandy has wrecked with something smarter. Maybe we can put a dent in gun proliferation, and enhance public mental health services as well. Maybe we can start acting more like a nation and less like so many angry, warring tribes.
No, we're not going to hold our breath waiting for any of this. But we are hoping for a cheerier 2013. It wouldn't take much.