“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien,
2016 wasn’t a bad year. It was a challenging year, for sure.
We lost many beloved celebrities, some very unexpectedly, as well as several scientist pioneers. The war in Syria broke our hearts and underscored the powerlessness we feel when governments decide that war is the only solution and the civilians suffer. We all felt the shocks from a contentious presidential election, whose aftershocks will still be felt for many years I expect. Many of us are living with problems wrought because corporations have been allowed to overrule common decency (how many people lost their pensions this year? How many people work over 40 hours and still do not make a livable wage?) and environmental safeguards (Flint, MI; Standing Rock). And yet, there were many positive things.
Quartz posted an article listing the best 99 things that happened in 2016, a list which contains cute pandas and eradication of ebola. Progress on environmental issues has been made in several countries around the world, despite the climate change deniers (for the record, climate change is more than global warning and is not a linear progression of events!).
Life is about the good and the bad, the ups and the downs. Not to sound sophomoric, but it’s good to remember:
- Nothing good or bad lasts forever.
- It’s okay to mourn a celebrity. That means that something in their body of work touched you. Don’t let anyone shame you because you shed a tear or two.
- But…death comes for all of us (unless you’re Keith Richards. There can only be one, after all). Remember to celebrate the life and the joy as well
- …and, cherish the time you have with the people you love
- Go out into the world and be brave. Be brave in big ways (speak out against injustice even when people call you the special snowflake), be brave in little ways (treat the homeless person with respect and dignity even when someone says your change will only go to drugs or alcohol)
- judge less, love more
- love your body and nourish it with good food and exercise
Above all, keep hope in your heart. Hope that bigotry, hatred, and ignorance will not win the day, not in our politics, not for the earth, and not for the people struggling each day in whatever country. And with hope the courage to take a stand and work for a better future.
Peace my friends.