Time for the Year in Review. This is the week in which every columnist reviews the past year from their perspective, be it sports, TV shows, movies, celebrity lives and deaths, or … dare I say it, politics. There are lots of articles talking about how bad 2016 was and whether it will get better or worse in 2017. I admit to falling into the category that considers 2016 to have been a bad year, perhaps the worst since I was born nearly 71 years ago. Why, because the political direction of the countries making decisions that affect the entire world appear to have lost even a glimmer of kindness, even a veneer of compassion, even a shred of civility. Bullying seems to have won the day. If the most influential world leaders are to make decisions based solely on self-interest and not at all on values and not at all on inclusion, then what hope can there be for making things better … together … for everyone? All these years I thought that’s where we were headed, even if it takes a very long time and there are some stumbles and steps backwards from time to time. Now I’m not so sure. Not sure at all.
OK, I’ve got that off my chest. Now to consider how those of us who feel this way – and I appreciate that not everyone does – can find a way to put a positive spin on 2017. First of all, we can all think of positive things to remember from this strange, strange year, and hang on to them tightly. Keep reminding yourself of them. My own top items are:
- Brand new grandson born on Christmas Eve (!!)
- Fabulous week in Cancun with grandchildren and their parents
- Fascinating trip to Vietnam and Cambodia
- Retired – again – at the end of June. This time for good!
Secondly, we can all do what several people I know are already working on, some with more success than others:
- Stop compulsively reading the news online; at least aim for moderation
- Stop compulsively watching the news on TV
- Stop incessantly talking about the bad news with friends.
I’m not saying that any of these extreme actions are easy, but they are important to practice. Eventually it will (at least may) get easier. 🙂
Thirdly, we all need to consider what we can do in 2017 that will make us happy, both about ourselves and about the world in which we live. For me, I have to stop spending so much time despairing about things over which I have no control. I can’t singlehandedly ensure the survival of the UN or bring peace to the Middle East, but I can find ways to help ensure that I live in a community that continues to value kindness and inclusion. I can strongly support enlightened leadership wherever I find it. I can walk the talk. I can be there for family members, friends, and colleagues. I can celebrate the accomplishments of all those people with whom I’ve had the privilege to interact. And I can get up off my butt and exercise more often, so that I can celebrate my outstanding fitness level! 😉 See, there’s no end of ways in which we can combat despair, one step at a time.
And, finally, to help prevent finding ourselves feeling this despondent next New Year’s Eve, I love this idea for a Good News Jar that has been circulating on Facebook. I’m going to make myself one tomorrow so I’ll be ready for all the good things that are going to happen on January 1, 2017.
Happy New Year, everyone. May 2017 surprise us all in lots of good ways.