The apartment smells like delicious baking things, the cats are snoozing, and although I still have many things to do both at home and at work, I am very much aware of the fact that the year has wound down. Goodbye 2017, hello 2018.
In many ways, the past year has been just as bad as feared, particularly in the USA. The grandiose (and impossible) “MAGA” promises made by Trump have not come to pass, while he has instead and with the complicity of the GOP begun dismantling every gain – social, environmental, and diplomatic – we’ve made in the past four decades, for greed and for sheer pettiness.
For myself, and many other writers and artists, it’s been one of the worst years we can remember in terms of creation. Even when we were inspired, or driven, it still felt like a hard slog up a muddy hill. Creativity does not thrive under repressive regimes. It perseveres, but it does not thrive.
But in some very significant ways, December 31, 2017 finds us better than we were 364 days ago. Because many of us stood up, set aside our complacency, our apathy, our ‘the professionals will deal with it’ non-concern, and fought for what we believe in: a world where we are judged not by skin or gender or attire, but by our acts. By our humanity.
In 2017, I saw people who had never heard of the term Tikkun Olam embracing the concept, and putting it into action. Some in massive, world-changing ways, some in small, day-shifting ways. All valid. All wonderful.
And all exhausting. We’re exhausted, and the fact that it’s exhaustion in the cause of righteousness isn’t much help when you think of having to do it again, and again. I wish I could wave a wand and make it not-so.
But there’s one thing 2017 has shown us, also. We’re not alone. We have a magic wand of another sort. Even when we run into someone who is apathetic, or outright mean (or deplorable), there is someone beside us who is calm and caring, and there for us to lean on until we get our second (third, fourth) wind. We just need to look for them, listen for them. Be them.
My usual wish for everyone, at this point, is that the best of the previous year be the worst you face in the coming. And I still wish us all this. But I will add a rallying call, too.
2018 may not be a magical year. The world may not right itself just yet. But the worst beings possible in power cannot take away one thing, and that thing is how we choose to behave.
And so I say, may 2018 be the year we become the people Carrie Fisher wanted us to be. Fierce. Kind. Strong for ourselves, as well as others. And able to give the middle finger when and as needed, not to be cruel but to state loudly and proudly that we’re not putting up with hateful, demeaning bullshit any more. Not against ourselves, and not against anyone else, either.
Tikkun olam. Repairing the world. Filling it back up with shared joy and creation and empathy.
Be safe in your celebrations, and I’ll see you in 2018.