It’s been one hell of a year…
From the loss of some of our favorite singers and celebrities, to devastating political events, to what has lately felt like an endless stream of bad news all over the world, 2016 has kind of sucked. It’s gotten so bad that whenever I hear Jon’s BBC app alert chime, I shout things like: “who died?!” or “what was bombed?!” I’d like to think that not every news story is quiet so bad (medical discoveries always give me a good high), but just as scientists anticipate rising sea levels, I feel like my faith in mankind is being weathered down to a few grains of sand.
While it’s easy to get caught up in this overwhelming tide of endless news, I try to remember that the world has always had its struggles. There have always been bad people. There have been many devastating wars, famines, and extinctions. The difference is that now we are heavily connected. News travels fast. We are only a tap away from humans across oceans on distant shores. We can hear stories of an entire region’s economic struggle in an hour long radio show or watch as children search for a parent in an Aleppo hospital. We see all the world’s problems, big or small, as if they are in our backyard. I feel it all, I absorb it all, it weighs heavy, but there is always a silver lining. With each story, each heartbreak, each refugee fighting towards freedom, I feel a change. I know we are more similar than different, most of us want the same things, and we are no more human than those who struggle all over the world. Our circumstances are better and luck has been on our side – that’s all that separates us. This kind of perspective is invaluable, so while I mourn the senseless killing of a young black man, I dig in further to understand his life and the struggles of so many others. I think that is the challenge that 2016 has revealed: the worlds problems have started to feel like our own.
To be fair, 2016 wasn’t all bad. I finally got married! I also started this blog, which has been the most rewarding creative work I’ve ever done. And just three days ago I welcomed a new nephew into the world. It’s good to remember there is happy change, reasons to look up, and great things worth fighting for.
It’s normal to look back on where you’ve been, the ups and downs of the previous year, but as this year closes I’m looking forward. Learn from the mistakes of the past, take note of where things went wrong, remember those we’ve lost, and keep all that in your heart as you journey towards progress. I don’t know what the new year will bring, and I know it wont all be good, but I am determined to make things better for myself, those around me, and the world.
You’ve taught me a lot, but I’m happy to see the back of you, 2016. And to you, 2017, bring it on.