2016 may go down for many of us as the worst year in history.
Like any other year, we lost another wave of musical icons. Only this time it felt more personal. Legends like Bowie, Prince and George Michael all took their final bows, leaving us reeling, and mourning in ways one might mourn the passing of a blood relative. I took Prince’s the hardest, shedding tears for days at the mere mention of his name.
For the first time in my life, it was as though part of my adolescence had died too.
We also had tragedies this year. Tragedies on scales unfathomable to most of us for the first time since 9/11.
Brussels. Pulse. Nice. Berlin.
Tragedies that once again left me afraid to live my daily life. Or, at least, wanted me to be afraid. But after losing 3 friends at Pulse on that horrifying June night, I made the silent vow to never, ever be afraid again. I vowed to never allow their deaths to have been in vain, and to walk with unwavering courage, every day, in their memory.
I vowed to never let hate win, by exuding love and acceptance in it’s place.
And then there was the election…
The election that would offer to us a new President that will no doubt challenge my aforementioned vows to the very core. Without getting too political, the division and fear this country has felt ever since has been enough to make my heart ache. And once again, for the first time, I’m dealing with a new set of feelings: Anxiety has replaced excitement when I think about the future. At least, for the next 4 years.
Simply put, 2016 seemed like a bad dream that none of us have been able to wake from.
So what does this mean for us, since this all is, in fact, our reality?
It means we persevere.
And we take any of those current voids in our adolescences created by these events, and we fill them in with a renewed hope and passion for the things and the people we love.
And we make 2017 the year we come out stronger, by coming together. We replace bullying with encouragement. Hate with understanding. And rejection with sympathy.
Case in point- my New Year’s resolution has nothing to do with me specifically. Instead, I chose to make an effort impacting others in small but sincere ways. Through compliments. And while I recognize this is hardly earth shattering, I also know the difference this small gesture can make in someone’s day. Remember the video of the little girl telling the old man that she “liked his face”? Okay, so while that exact statement may not be my particular method, the genuineness of the act is exactly what this world needs more of.
Because at the end of the day one thing will always remain true: Life is beautiful. And we only have ourselves to blame for any inadequacies or injustices we may feel about our current situations. The truth is, you never needed a new year to take charge of your life, or to make positive impacts on the lives around you. Quit the job that you hate. Walk away from any negative energy. And forget about anyone who is incapable of seeing your value.
The biggest lesson from this year is how short life really is.
And as for the days when it seems like its a losing battle, well, just remember the words of the great George Michael-
You gotta have faith.