We’ll Take a Cup of Kindness Yet

I know we don’t have our own specific usernames for the “posted by” line on these posts, so let me clarify that this is Shannon. And this is my last post of 2015.

Naturally, one tends to become reflective as one year ends and another begins, which I guess is sort of strange given that these delineations of time are totally arbitrary. Nonetheless, here are my reflections on 2015.

It wasn’t a great year in the world. Mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and a general sense of fear pervaded 2015. Some really frightening people (in my opinion) are running for President in 2016. We saw that racism and intolerance are still very much alive in modern society, even if we’d like to think we’ve moved past all that. Climate change is frighteningly real. Sometimes it seems like we spend half our lives in anger and disbelief. And at least we had Jon Stewart to bring some much-needed humor to these tough situations … until he signed off, too.

But on the plus side, gay marriage became legal in all 50 states, and Trevor Noah is pretty funny.  We finally got some closure on Mad Men, and the show left behind a fun legacy of mid-century-modern fashion and household decor.

I guess the bottom line on world news is that we need to remember that there have always been scary times. There have always been a few bad people, although they make up an infinitesimally small percentage of the overall population. What’s changed now is that news about all the anger and fear and injustice is in our faces, all the time. It’s reported on 24-hour news channels, websites, and in social media. And then we argue about it online. We make the mistake of reading the Comments section. At the end of the day we’re weary from our battles with friends and strangers, and our general feeling that the whole terrifying world has invaded our homes.

Sometimes it’s best to just turn it all off. You need to get the perspective that 50 years ago there were still shootings, bomb threats, and idiotic opinions—you just didn’t hear about them ad nauseum like you do now. Nowadays it’s only natural to perceive that the world is horrible, and to worry that you’re going to be the next victim of the world’s horror. Just remember, you need to live your life and shape your thoughts based on probability, not possibility.

(Which isn’t to say I think all is peachy keen. I have very strong feelings what we are and aren’t doing to address some of the world’s serious problems. I just know that I can’t fixate on these feelings all day.)

Obviously nobody knows where the world is going in 2016. Much of it is outside our control. But you can control many aspects of your own life. You can choose to take a deep breath, to accept your feelings (whatever they are), and to block or hide or unfriend anybody who makes your life worse. You can be the good in the world that counteracts the bad, just by being a kind person. You can win at life in 2016 if you just put one foot in front of the other, keep fighting the good fight, and making it through each day the best you can. You can find peace, even if the rest of the world is fighting. Because as we heard during that positive, rainbow-splattered day when the Supreme Court made its historic decision, Love Wins. 

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