Beautiful people. Calm down. 2016 is not the devil.
It’s not the boogie man. It’s not the grim reaper’s numeric incarnate.
Take a breath.
2016 was certainly filled with heartbreak and emotional trauma. Privately and publicly, we all have had moments this year that downright crushed the spirit and paralyzed the soul. I don’t nor should anyone dishonor or disregard the very real pains that each of you may have experienced this year in your private lives or as related to the passing of beloved public figures that inspired you.
But we have invested way too much emotional anxiety into the year 2016. Many of you seem to think that 2016 is/was cursed and are waiting with desperate anticipation for the clock to count us in to 2017.
We have lost our sense of perspective. Mostly because many of have bought into the completely unbalanced view that the passing of “A-list” /iconic celebrities as the standard for how “good” or “bad” a calendar year was.
We have forgotten that in a world with historic and modern day war, genocide, plagues, famine, racism, sexism and slavery, 2016 is hardly a banner year for pain.
Similarly, we have also forgotten that even despite these tragedies, we have a lot to be thankful for and that 2016 isn’t the beginning of the end of the world just because your timeline says it is.
Seasons of Love
Some of you out there fell in love , got engaged or got married in 2016.
Should 2016 forever be stamped in your hearts as a year of only misery and pain?
Many of us know of friends and loved ones who have welcomed new life into the world through the miracle of childbirth. Are those new parents supposed to view a year of such life changing beauty as a curse?
Similarly, many children without a home or family were given the gift adoption into loving households. How should they feel about 2016?
In 2016 some people received life saving and life changing treatments.
It’s very true that we have lost many loved ones to unpredictable ailments and incurable diseases. For that we should absolutely have a moment of reflection.
It is also true that in America, many people needlessly suffer because the health care system of the so-called “greatest country in the world” prioritizes profit over people
(I’m currently living such a reality myself).
But for those who were fortunate enough to receive successful transplants, healing medicine and sustaining treatment,
2016 wasn’t a death sentence but the start of new life.
There was some great news for wildlife activists. This includes the announcement that the Giant Panda has been downgraded from “endangered” to “vulnerable”. This is a win for our animal kingdom (and for anyone with “broads in Atlanta”.. hmm that was a bit of a pop culture reach..My bad.)
2016 was a year of tremendous political division and frustration, no doubt.
A never ending presidential campaign between 2 despicable, major party candidates and the ultimate election of an ignorant, arrogant, reality-tv cry baby
But 2016 saw great levels of positive political engagement as well. Black Lives Matter and Native American issues of civil rights both saw tremendous surges in solidarity through the global community this year. Women continue to achieve gains both substantial and marginal in gender equality.
Our environment has been the beneficiary of increased (although still too slow moving) consciousness and reforms.
Then there was Bernie. A magical, peace loving, gangsta Senator from Vermont continues to inspire a new wave of progressive consciousness across America.
And oh,yeah. My Cubs won the World Series!!
2016 was a pretty good year.
Superstition Ain’t The Way
One of my inspirations, Stevie Wonder said it best;
“when you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer”.
Through horoscopes, numerology, the solar system (that dang mercury always seems to be in retro-grade, huh?) – many already scramble to find alternative methods of making sense of our complex journies here on earth.
Combine that with our money-hungry news media that leads with the news that “bleeds”, many of us are subjecting ourselves to unnecessary psychological suffering because we have removed context from our consumption of negative news and in doing so, have found a new superstition to be fearful of; the deaths of entertainment icons.
Hurt People Spread Their Hurt To People
Lets not also forget the saying “misery loves company”.
This quote most often describes human beings who are attracted to misery, but in this context, I’m also referring to the spirit of misery itself.
Uninterrupted sadness can spread like wildfire and has no problem effecting anyone who forgot to pack smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
That’s why I’m encouraging all of you to continue to share in our collective empathy and grieving- but remember to protect your hearts and your spirits out here in these social media streets.
Eating Dirty Pizza
Too often we co-sign trending statements without knowing the origin of the statement or without questioning the context of the idea.
Too often we internalize and recycle the misinformation and exaggerations of others.
Imagine if a random stranger offered you a slice of pizza.
No box or anything.
Just a random slice.
Wouldn’t you want to know where it came from before accepting it and eating it? You’d want to know the who made it. What are the ingredients?
How long ago was it made?
Who else touched it?
How sanitary is this pizza?
Well, information and energy are food for the spirit.
You should be very careful with what you choose to consume and where it comes from.
Much like an unbalanced (but delicious) diet of eating only pizza & fries, when you only eat from a menu of “the sky is falling” and “everything this year sucks”
then those thoughts will inevitably consume your mood and your spirit.
Life is difficult enough. Don’t add more stress by needlessly carrying someone else’s exaggerated frustrations
Let me be clear. Losing icons like Muhammad Ali, Prince and David Bowie are tremendous losses. They and so many others who have transitioned this year have positively changed our world in ways that we still can’t truly appreciate. We can and should mourn the void that we feel in their absence. But don’t allow your power or your peace of mind to be stolen by the mass hysteria that tends to take place in our social media echo chambers.
There has been pain. And there has been joy. Hopefully you use the life that you have to continue to make the world a better place in 2016, 2017 and beyond.
Happy New Year!
(By the way!!!)
I want to take a moment to acknowledge all of those who have lost loved ones this year but don’t have the benefit of having your name in lights. There are many who have lost loved ones to cancer, random incident, gun violence, domestic abuse, drug abuse, sexual abuse, racial hatred, genocide or elderly age. I wish you the best in love, comfort and patience with a healing process that can be understandably unpredictable.
– Will 💜