What a year. Anyone else feel like they’ve been living in the Twilight Zone episode that intersects with a Margaret Atwood novel, by way of George Orwell?
Admittedly, my year began rather beautifully. Day drunk in New Zealand, sand between my toes and whatnot. Holiday me is my most fabulous self. She is fun, good humored, wears flowing dresses and big hats, eats passionately and enjoys long walks on the beach.
It felt like the holiday was never going to end, and suddenly, the plane is landing in Vancouver. I’m listening to Adele’s Hello and grimacing mournfully towards the grey skies and slick tarmac. Back to work. Back to routine. Goodbye holiday me. Hello hellish chill of January.
After 14-plus hours’ of flight and airport purgatory time, no matter how badly you want to cling to those bright and shiny holiday feelings, all you want to do is just get home to your own bed.
Entering Baggage Claim with blurry eyes, I had to blink and refocus when I saw the news on the screens above the conveyer belt. Breaking news—DAVID BOWIE DEAD. What the whaaaa? That was such a heartbreaker, the end of an era at the end of our holiday. Sitting in the airport, using the free Wi-Fi to listen to classic Bowie tracks, feeling quietly despondent about life’s impermanence.
Does anyone else feel that the death of David Bowie was the precipice of which the year dove off? It was the nature’s siren signifying that 2016 would be straight up bumpy.
Generally, I enjoy the many year-end best and worst lists. This year, though, it does feel like the worst outweighs the best? 2016 was especially devastating in regards to oh I don’t know…everything?
As the year rolled along, the news churning out horrific stories about Syria, violence and unrest in the United States, the refugee crisis, Hurricane Matthew, Zika virus, Brexit, terrorism—Al Gore releasing an updated and more depressing follow up to An Inconvenient Truth—the list goes on and on and oooooon.
As for the 2016 In Memoriam lists… how much time to do you have? From Willy Wonka to Mrs. Brady, to the Fifth Beatle George Martin; Alan Rickman, Maurice White, Harper Lee, Merle Haggard, Patty Duke, Muhammad Ali, Gordie Howe, Arnold Palmer, Sharon Jones, one Eagle, two members of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Leonard Cohen and His Royal Badness, Prince.
It’s a long list baby—and there are too many to name. It’s like God wanted to make a pop culture greatest hits compilation tape and just got a little too invested and enthusiastic. It’s like “Dude, you’ve got a lot Jimi Hendrix, Mozart and Audrey Hepburn—don’t be greedy!”
Then there’s ole President Elect Tweeter von Tweeterstein. I’m not here to spout political diatribes, we all have our opinions and I respect that. On the night of the election, I was prepped with a nice bottle of pinot to toast the first female president. By the time Clinton’s campaign manager quietly invited everyone to go home, I was drunk and ugly crying on the couch. Not because a woman didn’t win, but because such a vile, ignorant, bigoted, misogynistic beast did. What the future holds, no one knows.
We bank on 2017 being a better year, and there’s nothing guaranteeing that. What can we bank on? If I may be so bold and to borrow a quote from Wait for it, from Hamilton: “I am the one thing in life I can control.” Yup. That’s it, that’s all. It’s so simple. You control you. You control how you react to and how you receive the best and the worst.
Bear in mind, Burr also famously shoots and kills Hamilton in a duel…and later admits that “the world was wide enough” for the both of them. Talk about shoot first, deal later. Act passionately, just don’t react irrationally.
Easier said than done I know. There’s a million things to twist yourself up over. The past, the present, the future, the uncertainties, the inevitabilities can be quite crushing. When you catch yourself sinking in the quicksand of hopelessness, ask yourself: what can I do better?
Foster positive relationships; practice self-care. Stretch, sleep, hydrate. BREATHE. Check in with loved ones. Say hello to strangers. Focus on family and community. Volunteer. Eat well. Sleep. Exercise. Smile. Laugh whenever possible. Love freely. The world will still feel chaotic at times, but that connectedness within your small little corner of the globe will promise a sense of purposeful peace. Create a ripple effect of kindness and see how far it reaches.
All is not lost, my friends, all is not lost.
Wishing you a happy holiday season and a joyous 2017.
Images courtesy of the fine folks behind the internet