There are some who are just not having their best year ever.
(Looking at you, Volkswagen. And you, Josh Duggar. And you, all of FIFA. Although, admittedly, it wasn’t some run of bad luck for any of you. 2016 ain’t looking so great either, despite electric car proposals, a wife who refuses to quit, and multiple firings and bannings respectively. I’ll bet all of you had a Christmas wish that someone, somewhere out there is about to f*** up royally in early 2016 so that we can forget about you all for awhile, at least until some fun new detail emerges. You all owe Donald Trump a thank you note in advance. And maybe send a crate of expired pudding to Bill Cosby while you’re at it.)
Among my friends, there are mixed reactions to 2015 ranging from a resounding “Eh…” to “It was ok…” to “Bye,
Felicia 2015.” Lots of ups and downs in relationships, finances, children, employment, health, and the round-up of stuff that is almost universally troublesome to everyone at some point in their lives.
But even for those of us who had pretty solid 2015 (we kicked off the New Year in Iceland, went to Thailand in the spring, got married, had an amazing honeymoon in the South of France, and adopted some new family members) there’s a ubiquitous sense of all not being right with the world.
Beyond lost keys and missed payments, 2015 was a jarring wake-up call that shit is not right in the world. In it’s 2015 wrap-up, the Wall Street Journal cites some pretty medium highs and pretty low lows around the world including (in no particular superlative order) US-China relations, Iran talks, the earthquake in Nepal, and Greece’s economy. It has to link to a whole separate article to broach the subject of terrorism.
We have lived in fear before. And fear culture is real. Living outside of the US (and not having cable television) means I’ve been able to mute and filter my news sources and I’m much happier for it. 24-hour news channels = the worst. A little bit of fear is good. A little bit of fear keeps you curious and involved, it keeps you wanting to be informed and know more. A whole lot of fear leads to shut down, implosion, and gripping onto safeholds like inaccuracies and tired dogmas. America – you have a whole lot of fear. And people who are more than happy to exploit that fear for their own gains.
My safehold: I’m still tightly clinging to my belief that humans are inherently good, and that even the bad humans – the worst possible humans – are that way because of a series of life experiences and a context that I have never had to live and probably can’t understand. There is always another side to every story.
If anything, perhaps we can say that 2015 was a learning year and pick up what we can and move forward. It was a landmark year in the US for civil rights in terms of marriage but a pretty low time for other civil rights, gun control, women’s reproductive rights, and justice. 2016 is going to be a crazy ride, if the initial election insanity is any preview.
Wishing you a very happy New Year’s Eve and a fabulous start to 2016! The clock strikes midnight here several time zones before any of my US friends and family, so I’ll be sure to greet 2016 for you and tell it to treat you all well.