Saturday, 31 December 2016

An (Honest) Eulogy to 2016

Oh, 2016. You had so much promise. As I stood under the moonlight watching multicoloured pinwheels fly through the sky howling my lungs out in celebration of what was going to be the 'BEST YEAR EVER' I had no idea what you were going to bring. But I knew it was going to be good.

I. Was. WRONG.

Good God 2016, could you have been worse? Yes. We could be living in 1916 and witness our loved ones leave to fight in WWI only to never come back. We could be one of the thousands of displaced Syrian refugees or otherwise simply be in a less privileged position than I actually am. I am aware of this. I look around myself at the overwhelming prosperity and I am thankful that I have the things that I have and that the people I love are still here. But honestly...2016, I'm sorry but you were pretty shit.

In 2016, I have put on and lost and put on and lost somewhere in the region of three stone. I start the new year about half a stone heavier than I did on January 1st (and I am so thankful that it is ONLY half a stone heavier) but 2016 has been the hardest weight loss/fitness/general motivation year of my life.

In 2016 I have fallen in love and had my heart broken and put it back together only for it to be broken AGAIN. In 2016, I witnessed some of the finest artists of our time pass unreasonably early.  Social divisions were pushed to the absolute limit; first with Brexit, then with Donald J(esusChristyoucan'tbeserious) Trump, and the wave of intolerance continues at home and abroad.

Katie Hopkins did NOT leave the country either of the times she promised to. Nor has Nigel Farage pissed off (what would have been one of the few good aspects of the surge of hatred in the weeks immediately following the referendum). Jo Cox was murdered. Native Americans once again had their rights revoked because of big business. Lorries ran over celebrating civilians. Natural disaster after natural disaster. Police brutality. Civil war rages in the Middle East and no one really seems to know what to do about it, or knows what to do about it but is just too chicken shit to actually make a stand. There have been terrorist attacks and mass shootings what seems like every day of the year.

It's Christmas time, my absolute favourite time of the year. The time of year I love because, in general, people just seem nicer to one another. You take a minute to think of the people you care about and all of the wonderful things in your life. But when I look around right now, there is a veritable shit storm of fear and hatred and bigotry and just awfulness and I hate turning on the news because there's a picture of yet another child that the world forgot or a once thriving city razed to the ground or yet more hate attacks on people who are a bit different. I feel drained and demotivated and sometimes just, completely lost. And I know I am not alone.

And yet. There have been pockets of goodness throughout. I read something after the Florida mass shooting that struck me. In moments of peril, look for the helpers because they will always be there. And it's true. Where there is injustice, people will stand for what is right and good. Bloodbanks (after the Orlando shooting) were overwhelmed with support, veterans stood with protesters, the UK voted to ratify the Istanbul Convention, the White Helmets, donations were made to Planned Parenthood in Mike Pence's name, three parent babies, we're closer to a cure for HIV than ever before, the Icelandic football team received a heroes welcome, tiger populations are increasing, Bill Clinton reacted to balloons, Leonardo DiCaprio FINALLY won an Oscar, Leicester City, Larry the Cat, the Chicago Cubs, Pope Francis continues to be Pope Francis, The Olympic and Paralympic games. I watched one of my best friends achieve a life long dream. I had fun. I held the people I love close. I didn't fail.

There is the potential for goodness and determination in the face of adversity everywhere you look. So, my wish for 2017 is to make it count. Every new year has the potential to be a bizarre game of deja vu. We repeat the same resolutions, give up at the same times and then just carry on with the day to day monotony. I don't plan on doing that. I plan on putting the work in. Grabbing on to possibilities and giving them my best shot. And in many ways, I have you to thank for that 2016. If you hadn't been so crap I wouldn't have the drive to make 2017 the best year yet.

Nearly everything that happened in 2016.
Beutler Ink. (