2016 has not been a good year at large. 2017 must be better, surely? Although when you consider that 2017’s first month will see the inauguration of Donald Trump at POTUS, and later months will (most likely) see the implementation of Brexit, and Aleppo remains in flames and rubble, maybe the end of 2017 will see us looking back nostalgically at 2016 (horrific thought that that is).
I started drafting this post on Tuesday, and woke to news Wednesday morning of Carrie Fisher’s death, so feeling it even more now than then. A Facebook post reminded me how trivialising it is to refer to this year’s toll of “celebrity” deaths when the people being most deeply mourned are some of the 20th century’s most memorable and influential creative *artists* (Carrie Fisher’s writing was extraordinary, if you don’t already know), and they represent a time when art was something people were able to experiment and fail at while crafting a vocation, instead of today’s sanitised and commodified entertainment factories where you either have a highly profitable hit with your earliest efforts, or you find another career.
Anyway, back to what might happen next year: any plans to share regarding improving things, personally/locally/nationally/globally/astrally? I could do with some inspiration, frankly.
On a personal level, I’m going to stop just looking at my old guitar I dragged out of storage months ago, and work on getting some muscle memory back for those chords and pickings. Some of the same on the goanna, too. I need to get my musical theory brain working again, not just my musical ear.
We adopted a mostly-meatless diet after beloved’s neck surgery last year, which was largely at my instigation. We both feel better on it, and even the sprogs have come to accept some of their family favourites (nachos, bolognaise etc) made with TVP mince, so winning! Looking forward to finding new veg recipes in 2017.
I also want to find some paid employment, preferably in the disability sector or some other social justice area, because I’ve been a freelance hermit for too long, and working in a more structured environment seems like a more productive use of my skills for right now (practising my interview soundbites).
Local contributions: I want to volunteer some more time to nearby groups doing good works. We perform a monthly nostalgic hit parade concert for a residential dementia unit in the Sutherland Shire as part of a music therapy program, which is both an honour and a joy to see how much they love their golden oldie songs, but I want to do something more hands-on as well.
I also want to find a local politician to actively support – it’s increasingly obvious to me that looking only to the top tier of state/national politics misses out on the crucial grassroots work at lower tiers that determines who gets pre-selected as party candidates, and how much the manoeuvring behind pre-selection truly matters. I’ve been armchairing about activism for long enough.
- RefuseFascism.Org is calling for a month of resistance to the incoming regime of Trump/Pence in the USA. They’re aiming for the stars by January 20th, and aren’t likely to get there, but there needs to some core of organised resistance and activism for the anti-fascist Centre-Left (our diffusion has not been effective) and this could well be a good starting point. The breathless Fox Network demonisation of this and any similar groups should be expected and not just shrugged off, because they managed to make a whole election that should have been about principles and policies end up coming down to character assassination via petty insinuations about a private email server.
I presume there are some similar groups happening in other nations who’ve experienced a resurgence in white nationalist and other neo-reactionary political parties. I’d like to know more about them if you have links to share.
Finally, some things that need to disappear:
7 bad science and health ideas that should die with 2016 [Content note: includes discussion of morbid obesity – not exactly fat-shaming, but certainly not HAES positive either
Happy upcoming 2017 everybody! May we all look back more fondly upon it than on 2016.
So far my plans for 2017 include increasing my daily journal-writing time by 5 minutes (and thus doubling it!) at the beginning of next month, with a long-term aim of working up to 30 minutes journalling each morning as a way of building up practice in writing. I also intend to keep up the daily “three things” blog posts I’ve been doing over on Dreamwidth, to see whether it’s useful for people. I’m hoping it will be.
Other than that, I’ll see how things go as they progress. I’ve learned the hard way that New Years Resolutions don’t work for me (they’re basically large-print “should”s, and I respond to any sort of “should” with an internal “…but I won’t” or “…. but I don’t want to”).
Intending big changes for me in 2017, though not entirely happy ones. I’ve decided I need to find work that pays a salary, and will therefore need to give up accepting piecemeal bits of contract work in my field in the hope it will develop into an actual job. I don’t want to give up academia because I’m good at it and I love it and I believe it’s important, but I can’t make the employment landscape change.
The bigger picture horrifies me so much that I can only stick to the small picture. I will donate to causes and support other people’s work any way I can, but right now I have no vision for how to fix anything.
Wishing you (and me) a safe haven in the employment landscape this year, Anna.
I’m planning to make more time for visiting friends in meatspace. I’ve missed it this year for various reasons, but it’s something I need more, not less of.
I will continue to give to charity and do my best to raise children who realise how lucky they are and see the importance of helping others.
I spend to much time hermiting at home other than musical gatherings. I need spaces where I can talk to friends too, definitely.
My word for 2017 is kindness. I need to keep saying this because it’s bloody hard, and it will be all too easy to lose it in the reality of the new year beginning. This includes kindness to myself, which even as I type this, is invoking a cacophony of voices in my head arguing over whether I deserve more kindness, or whether the problem is that I’m already too kind to myself, so plenty of work to do there.
I have plans for reducing our environmental impact in small ways. I bought everyone reusable coffee mugs for the takeaway coffees our whole family is very fond of. I intend to eat much less meat, by way of buying it from Feather and Bone. If we spend the same amount of money on it as we do now, we should have less, and have it ethically sourced. This has been waiting for the kids to eat a wider range of foods, but I think we’re there now. If I’m feeling really strong, I might even battle with the spousal unit and try to get him to use reusable shopping bags. Apparently I am an ogre for even suggesting it.
I am in the middle of dealing with Old Issues, and I intend to keep that up. I am writing stuff in a journal, which occasionally leaks out into the real world and is helping with the processing. This has the potential to be a big deal for me, if I manage to actually do it.
I’m not sure how I’m going to deal with 2017 on a global level, other than bracing myself for the fight. I think this is the fight of our lifetimes, and that the future genuinely depends on its outcome. I’m terrified that this last sentence is not hyperbole.
Kindness is an excellent principle, and I know exactly what you mean about the inner argument regarding kindness to myself. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.
5 People Committed to Making 2017 Suck Less