2016 has inspired a whole lot of "well wasn't that shit" kind of commentary, and it's pretty easy to agree. The anthropomorphic personification carrying a scythe has been busy this year. Apart from the extensively discussed famous folks, I've sadly been to the funerals of some people who left the world poorer for their departure.
As I didn't set a word for 2016, I'm going to give it one retrospectively - change. Globally, I think we're seeing the pain of change playing out. Times are changing. Our economic system is on its last legs. Our legal system is unable to reflect justice meaningfully in many areas. Our political systems have become so inbred that virtually no-one, anywhere has much faith in any of its actors. Wealth distribution is at breaking point. The environment is on a knife edge. Large swathes of people have recognised that our society is built on oppression. We need change, but change hurts. The powerful few are fighting with all their vast resources to stop it. They're exploiting our natural fear of change, and combining it with a fear of the other to create a backlash against it and protect their privilege. The backlash is dangerous, and plenty of smarter people than me have written about how history teaches us we can't ignore it and hope it will go away. Left unchecked, it could end catastrophically. Globally speaking, 2017 isn't going to be better, it's going to be a fight for the future. I am hopeful, but only if we take the threat seriously.
Personally, 2016 has also been about change. I've started the process of dealing with old, old issues that keep hijacking my brain and making me respond to situations in utterly dysfunctional ways. I've continued trying to navigate life without the heteronormative scripts of Straight and Monogamous that don't apply to me, but in lots of ways I'd been following for a long time anyway because... well I'm lazy and it's the path of least resistance. But it's not who I am, and I want my kids to grow up knowing there are lots of options. There is no One True Way to live and love. We all need to find our own. Then love brings about its own change, providing both the strength and motivation for facing the pain that comes with any change that actually matters.
At midnight tonight I won't be hoping for 2017 to be better than 2016, I'll be bracing myself for the work that's still to be done, in both the public and private spheres. But behind it there is hope that the work won't be in vain. That we complete the changes that have spooked us, and that we'll chop off the heads (figuratively speaking) of those trying to sacrifice our future for their power.
Through it all, there is the immense gratitude I feel for the people I love. You are everything, and the only reason for existence. I hope 2017 brings the rewards for the work I know more than a few of you have been doing. I hope we can be each other's strength, too.
To facing 2017 with strength and kindness!