The original title was Hopeless 2017, Hopeful 2018 but I realized the fill in the blanks fits the theme of the post that much better.
Happy New Year everyone! I’ve been saying this, with some reluctance, these past weeks to pretty much everyone I’ve met, including the cashier at the store.
Well, I guess I should say reluctance and annoyance. Literally everyone in the weeks leading up to NYE and the week after NYE has been reviewing 2017 in the way that the year has affected them personally as well as the events that have marked 2017, which in turn marked us all.
My annoyance reached its peak when my friend sent me an innocuous, cute gif to wish me a happy 2018.
So 2017 was clearly unexpected. It was filled with horrendous moments, as all years have been before.
And then the video goes on to wish for a 2018 filled with hope, health, collaboration and everything sweet in between.
(Side note: there's nothing innately wrong with their wishes, please don't misunderstand me.)
Here is where my issue resides – and forgive me if I sound harsh, but this has been boiling in me for the past month now.
It’s similar to people’s annoyances with new year resolutions.
Why make resolutions based on an arbitrary time of the year? The new year has no significance. There is no real, physical difference between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, only an arbitrary decision based on politics and societies thousands of years ago. I was so happy when Neil DeGrasse Tyson made that comment on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
“Finally, someone says it as it is!” I thought.
It is normal to pick this day, which almost the entire globe has appropriated as the start of a new year, as the time to review how your life’s been going and how to go forward in the new year.
But holy shit. That clock gif. You’re showing me exactly everything that was wrong in 2017 and then you have the guts to wish me all these beautiful things in 2018? How? You know, I know, we all know that all the discrimination, the fighting, the political turmoil, the inequality, the societal disturbances, the cultural differences will roll into 2018 with us. They will not by themselves decide to start anew and afresh just because we decided that it is a new year.
They do not think by themselves – we give them power, we give them voice, we give them meaning.
We grow them.
So if you want that happiness, and prosperity, then show me how you’re going to work, in whatever way and capacity you can, to change at least one bit of the wrongs that have been going on for centuries.
I am not saying that I know how, or that any of us should know how for that matter – that is not my point at all. The annoyance is at the apparent way of turning a blind eye whenever a new year rolls around.
“New Year, New You.” I’ve used that expression too – but I meant it when I said it to my friends in a personal way, for their specific situations with solutions we’ve crafted together.
At the base of it, there is no new year. There is a continuum of time and space in which we live and have lived and those dimensions see no rift.
And no, I do not want any of you, or me, to make resolutions now just because it’s the “new year.”
I am not saying you shouldn’t if you are motivated to do so, but do not make them just because it is the new year.
I gifted myself, for my previous birthday, something very special: the power to control my anxiety and my fear. And it is a struggle. I told myself, from thereon now, you will, at least once, try all the things that cripple you.
So yes, I chose a date that’s important to me but somewhat arbitrary, to mark the official start of my fight. But I chose that date because the motivation coincided with the realization that I am getting older, and to get wiser, I need to fight. And it is not easy. And I have failed so many times since, but have also won a bunch.
I want you to make a resolution when something happens, or when you read something, or see something that moves you. That means that you have passion about that subject, that you have the motivation to pursue this belief wherever it takes you. Make a resolution based on that and carry it with you from that second on. Do not wait for someone else to start a movement. We do not need someone to start a movement, we need you to say something about what moves you and what irks you.
2018 will be just as shit as 2017 was. As 2016 was. And as all the millions of years before us. I sincerely doubt that victims of any war believe that, as we’re ringing in a new year, their homes will be rebuilt on January 1st. That the economy will take pity on us, inflation will stop its madness and people will be able to afford food again. That the government official will wake up a new person (a “new them”) and release his hold upon the people he’s supposed to serve. That the divide between two countries, two cultures, will be a thing of the past and the reunification the present, not the future.
The funny thing is… if we prized and practiced communication as much as we say we do, many of these things would die down.
P.S.: I do sincerely need to be more prompt on the release of these blog posts… I’m months behind.
Bonus: Here's me stuffing dat turkey like it should be done. Best turkey anyone's ever had. #humble