To 2016, with Relative Indifference and a Holler for Hope

Never in a 12-month span have I so often been reminded that the sun will rise again tomorrow. The earth’s rotational cycle is supposed to be comforting, I guess.

I seldom felt at ease, though, night or day. I cursed 2016 more than any other year.

There was a lot to curse. Horrid things happened: International terrorism. Domestic terrorism. Police brutality. Violence against police. Tumultuous things happened: Brexit. Pre-Election. Post-Election. Here on the home front, our problems seem smaller, but they aren’t less significant. Pain is in the brain of the beholder. The Turf burning down hurt. The Bison losing hurt. State budget cuts will hurt, a lot.

We’re overwhelmed and want to place our emotion somewhere, but I think the Year 2016 is too easy of a scapegoat.

A year is merely a measurement of time — we take a lap around the sun (which rose 366-out-of-366 times this time around). Being upset at 2016 is like getting mad at a ruler. By hating 2016, we’re simplifying an incredibly complex period of time, and ignoring the good to bolster the bad.

And there’s been plenty of good.

I also agree with your mother’s homey wall decor: the bad makes the good stand out a little more. I remember watching the Orlando nightclub shooting aftermath unfold on the Fox Newses and CNNs at the nursing home I worked at this summer. One of my favorite residents died that day, too. I was an existential mess and needed a talk, so I met up with a friend at Island Park and chatted about life until the sun set and the police kicked us out.

I felt unbelievably human that night. I was emotionally exhausted, but at the end of the day, the lingering feeling I felt was hope. And we need to keep chasing hope. As Bob Dylan, our Nobel-Prize winning writer of literature pens:

“You need something special to give you hope
But hope’s just a word
That maybe you said or maybe you heard
On some windy corner ’round a wide-angled curve
But that’s what you need man, and you need it bad.”

Hope is a fickle thing that perches on the soul and cherishes resiliency. It doesn’t bode well with pessimism and our moody social media posts. What that something special is that will give us hope, I’m not sure. But I hope you find it. I hope we find it.

So keep fighting the good fight, and do not go gentle into that good night.

And when 2017 goes sour, if it’s of any solace, get some sleep and look east at dawn.

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