Please kindly QUIT YOUR WHINGING ABOUT 2016. It was not the worst year ever. In fact, if 2016 showed us anything, it’s that negativity, fear, anger and blanket statements have rather adverse effects.
Negativity holds us back. Fear paralyses us. Anger points our finger at ‘the other’. And blanket statements are always a bad thing.
Writing off the past 12 months as ‘awful’, ‘the worst’ or ‘shitty’ is easy to do. Listing the many crappy things that happened this year is easy to do. Labelling 2016 as crap because you feel sad about celebrities dying is easy to do.
I’m not saying bad things didn’t happen. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be upset. I’m not saying these aren’t valid responses – they are. But shit happens ALL THE TIME.
It’s all over social media. All through end-of-year conversations. All twisted into your subconscious reflections about 2016. IT. WAS. A. CRAPPY. YEAR.
January 1st isn’t magic.
Why are we so keen to call 2016 awful, burn our calendars and start again?
Celebrities will die in 2017. War and conflict will continue in 2017. Australia will continue to indefinitely detain people seeking asylum in 2017. Chocolate cake still won’t be an acceptable breakfast food in 2017.
When the clock hits midnight on the 31st there’s no refresh button. No clean slate. Nothing to stop people dying. Nothing to magically make 2017 any better.
Except that 2016 was so damn awful and 2017 will automatically be better. Without trying. 2017 will be my year. (Hang on, does that sound vaguely familiar to you?)
2016 = bad.
2017 = good.
Nope. I’m not playing that game.
I refuse to allow negativity, fear and anger dictate how I remember 2016. I refuse to let the bad win. I refuse to tarnish a whole year of wonder, exploration and growth because a few bits sucked.
2016 was complex. It was great. It was messy. It was fun. It was hard. It was scary, new, uncomfortable, confusing, exhilarating.
Life is nuanced. A whole year of your life, let alone a year of the world cannot possibly be summed up in a few words. And thank goodness – imagine how boring it would be if it could.
If we see polarities and opposites and view the world as black and white, we do ourselves and others a disservice. We miss out. There’s so much stuff in the in-between, the grey areas.
So much we can learn and discover when we allow a space to exist where we don’t have the answers, where we don’t know how we think or feel.
When we settle for sweeping, simple labels we give ourselves a ‘get out of jail free card’. We let ourselves off the hook. We take away our agency and our control and leave it all up to the whims of the universe.
Because when the year’s been that bad, how could we possibly expect anything more?
It’s easy to find the bad. To feel the negativity, the hurt, the anger, the fear.
Positivity, bravery, love, acceptance. These take guts to find. You have to look for them. They are hard to believe in at times. Harder still when surrounded by fear and hate.
But, if you look for the bad, you’ll find it. And if you keep looking for the bad, it will find you. Again and again and again. Until it becomes your default setting. How are you? Crap. How’s the year? Crap. Of course.
This year I get it. 2016 hurt. Like you, I want 2017 to sweep in and shower us with nice things, warm fuzzy feelings and make us feel better. To give us hope again.
But that’s not up to 2017. That’s up to us.
The world needs us to rise above.
A new calendar year brings the opportunity for fresh starts and renewed commitment. You cannot control everything, but you are in charge of how you feel, think and act.
Choose hope. When the world focuses on the doom and gloom, choose to see the positives. Choose to be happy. Choose to dream.
Choose passion. Choose to care, to actually give a shit. To be curious, interested, excited.
Choose the lens you see the world through. It may not be rose coloured, but don’t start the year already clouded. Choose to accept the ups and downs as part of life and be thankful for all you learn along the way.
Choose to appreciate the flaws, the shades of grey, the different unique perspectives that people bring. Choose to see the good in people, even if it takes a little extra looking.
Choose to take action, to do.
The choice is yours.