Finding Perspective on 2016


Last night’s #New Year’s Eve was the perfect summation of #2016; from the live countdown’s broadcast snafus in #New York to the overall subdued festivities and high rate of jammies (mine included) being reported on my social media feed, it was a pathetic fizzle at best. Add to that the last minute announcements of several beloved star’s passing (#William Christopher, #George Michael, #Carrie Fisher and #Debbie Reynolds) and it is safe to say that #2016 will be remembered as a year of much disappointment and loss. I think the general consensus I’ve run across has been pleasure that it is finally ending.

It is safe to say that this was a strange year overall. So much happened that left us feeling lost and uncertain, like a society adrift in harsh hashtags and depressing social media. Perhaps I am getting old. Or  perhaps I have simply reached an age where my sense of cynicism has outpaced my naivete.

I no longer want to party like it's 1999. Click To Tweet

I want my cup of herbal tea and my jammies and a good book. I want to tuck my daughter into bed and read her stories. I want to prolong her innocence just a bit longer if possible, partly because it means I can hold onto the shreds of my own in the process.

You see, I already know what’s waiting out here in her future. I pay bills. I have a mortgage. I care about the environment and retiring in my senior years. And as a Canadian I know way more about the recent #US election than I’d like to. As such, I would still rather be stuck most days watching the Disney Channel with her than CNN.

I don’t think I am alone in this.

Fear of our planet’s future is everywhere these days. Plastics in the ocean, oil spills, rising costs of living, and wars in foreign countries that are starting to feel closer to our own shores are all very real concerns we felt in 2016. This doesn’t simply end with the start of a new year. As much as I wish ringing in a new year could wipe the slate clean, we are still stuck with the same problems we faced at the end of 2016. No magic ball drop and no amount of champagne can change this.

So as many of you out there are nursing hangovers and coming to terms with your lists of new years resolutions, take a moment to consider these problems. What are you most afraid of in 2017?  I know this may not be easy with a hangover, but humor me.

While I can offer no easy solution to your problems, I will share my own resolution idea. We may not be able to save the world by ourselves, but what we can do is change our outlook and our perspective to our problems. This is my goal for 2017: to change my outlook and perspective to a more positive one.  I want to help create a better world for my daughter and I want to show her how to do it along the way.

So if you feel the same, let’s use the start of 2017 to take a moment to reflect on our fears. Let’s look them right in the eye, take a deep breath, and vow to make them less powerful.  Start in our homes, our communities and then take it globally.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, we must find ways to be the change we want to see in our world. Only then, will change occur. We need to have faith in humanity, and help rekindle that faith for those around us. We can do this in small ways each and every day: holding open a door, helping a stranger, donating old items or volunteering our time.

Surely, in the light of history, it is more intelligent to hope rather than to fear, to try rather than not to try. For one thing we know beyond all doubt: Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, ‘It can’t be done.’” – Eleanor Roosevelt 

So even though 2016 has left many of us feeling like putting on our jammies and hiding under the covers, we know that 2017 brings us hope for change. The greatest gift we can give each  other in 2017 is the gift of hope. Hope in each other and in our collective future. And like the late George Michael reminded us so well, we just “gotta have faith.”