I think it’s safe to say 2016 has been rough, regardless of your political persuasion. It was a year where both sides went straight for the necks of their perceived rivals, drawing blood every time and eagerly forgetting that a common thread ties us all together. Our common sense of humanity might have been the greatest casualty.
Personally I faced my own set of troubles and heartaches, things that tore me to pieces and aroused the determination to not let some shit keep me down. I saw my former self burn, the lies I once believed about myself both complimentary and brutal lost their power each time something bad happened. My heart flew among the heights of joy and passion and felt the icy grasp of the depths below, often within minutes of each other. That kind of shit either makes you old or wise really fast. In the middle of it, a bittersweet taste of a silent agony mixed with a hope that refuses to die, even as I try to take its life by my own hand presided.
It was a year filled with beauty too, my best friend brought me to the ocean for the first time in my life and I witnessed something sacred in the vast cracks of the grand canyon. Like every year before that, I also learned the deeper meaning of love and in a few ways how costly it can be, but don’t think for two seconds I’d trade the lesson or the beauty of what was built through it for anything.
The beauty and pain never came exclusively, every time they came hand in hand in some strange dance.
Last but not least, I’ve learned a little bit more about what it means to choose a battle and to bite the loss when necessary. Part of this is I lost my job of three years, it was a place and people I’d invested far more than usual into. I’d shared my life with these people. Sometimes what you are meant to be and what’s written on your soul lead to inevitable departures, you can feel it coming on for months and fight against it with all you have but like a cord that’s been holding too much weight, it snaps. I learned to walk away, to walk through the shit the abrupt yet inevitable end brought out, and to make peace with it knowing somehow that letting go of what was lead to an open door for better things to come to play.
The hardest thing to learn with all the twists and turns thrown my way was a sense of my value and dignity. It’s easy to get bitter or believe you are a piece of shit when a lot of bad things happen. Often we believe that what is happening in our lives is a reflection of who we are, and my god I can’t say this enough; it’s not. Some of the best people I know trudged through the mire before rising, and I’ve seen some serious piles of dung that pass for human beings seemingly flow through life from success to success, that is until what they are catches up. Our circumstances are not necessarily reflections of who we are, but it’s easy to believe they are. I’ve had to adopt the attitude that no matter what’s been thrown my way, I’ll do my best to learn from it and let it form me into something better.
I’m nothing in the grand scheme of things, just a speck of dust on a speck of dust in the universe, really nothing special. What has formed me is my experiences, and in their commonplace natures I find beauty and life. In this polarizing year we learned to look at friends and family through the lens of who we agree or disagree with, deeming them good or evil accordingly. This year I want to be rid of that perspective, to maintain my own ideals but not let that play a part in how I judge others. There’s so much goodness to behold in even those we despise.
Telling the truth about the things we see and not turning a blind eye to them is important, it’s essential for healing and I think there’s people in the world who do that very well. I’m not one of them, or at least I haven’t learned to do so with a degree of grace, so until then I want to appreciate the beauty in what I behold and nothing more. What’s hard is my heroes tend to be the brazen, in-your-face characters that call things for what they are. I envy them to a certain point, but find that while that is what I admire, it’s probably not what I’m hardwired to do.
Ultimately, I guess I just hope we can heal.