In my personal pantheon, 2016 will not be remembered as one of my favorite years. In truth, I can’t wait to bid it sayonara. I am sure that if I looked back, I would find plenty of moments of grace and even downright happiness. But I am staunchly choosing not to look back.
Even if setting the gaze forward, the immediate landscape can appear barren and unrewarding. I am positively dreading the fast-approaching day when I will have to witness a reality tv star with a fierce comb over ascend to the Presidency. Still, I am trying to find both personal and global reasons to cheer and welcome 2017 with positivity, if not glee.
One. Our President elect may be a dud but the Governor of California kicks ass (and his deputy, Gavin Newson, who will be running in two years, is equally smart and courageous). Governor Brown is already preparing himself and the state for battle: he has blessed the creation of a fund to help illegal immigrants fight deportation and has vowed to stick with the tight environmental rules California is known for. In short, doing what the people have elected him to do. Because, mostly, California is populated by sane individuals. Personally, I am both surprised and elated at my willingness to fight and become more active, at a time when I thought I could leave activism to younger generations.
Two. If it all gets too depressing, there will be wonderful books to read. One can always rely on words being written and a warm sofa on which to enjoy them, as Kate Atkinsons’ A God in Ruins and Ian McEwan’s Nutshell are reminding me right now. I believe the final installation in the Cromwell saga by Hilary Mantel will be seeing the light of day next year. Reason enough to stick around.
Three. Sofagirl and I are in the planning stages of a trip to France early next Summer, just in time to celebrate her birthday. If it all comes to pass, baguettes will be eaten and berets will be worn. Paris beware.
Four. Ottie, Portia and I are considering adding another canine to the family. Ottie is not totally on board yet but I trust he will come around. At which point, I will lose any semblance of control on my household. Dogs will rule.
Five. This morning, in the pre-dawn light, the ocean looked like velvet.
Six. I have to believe that, for every act of violence and cruelty, for every racist word uttered, for every injustice and for every asshole out to make my day a little harder, there is a counterbalance to be found in all those people who, day in and day out, choose bravery, courage and compassion. Those who do it, not to win accolades or for personal gain, but because their fundamental human decency compels them to.
May I be one of those people next year.
A very Happy New Year to all of you!