2017: This year has been full of shocking, saddening, and terrible events. Shootings in the Las Vegas strip and Orlando. The Manchester bombing. Natural disasters such as Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Harvey, and wildfires in California. The passing of many beloved actors and singers, people who have influenced entire generations. The banning of transgender people from joining the military. And sexual misconduct allegations to name a few.
But many uplifting, heartwarming things have also happened. People and communities coming together in times of difficulty to raise money, donate supplies, or physically help out those in need. The Women’s and Science Marches that happened in many different communities to raise awareness to the same noble causes: allowing women their rights and continuing funding for scientific research (scientists have found a way to successfully rebreed sections of the Great Barrier Reef). The solar eclipse. The #MeToo movement as well as the response #HowIWillChange. The silence breakers. The inclusiveness of Rihanna’s makeup line. The diversity of the winners at the Oscars and the Emmys. The election results around the US brought many firsts: in Virginia, Kathy Tran, a refugee from Vietnam, became the first Asian-American woman elected to the House of Delegates, Charlotte, N.C. elects its first African American mayor, Vi Lyles, and Hoboken, N.J. elected Ravi Bhalla, making him the city’s first Sikh American chief executive (among many others). It has been both an empowering and progressive year for many who haven’t had a voice before.
For me personally, it has been a year of drastic ups and downs. I got to see my favorite band, Old Dominion, twice. I got to visit new places like the Lula Lake Land Trust, Greenville, Tybee Island, Valdosta, Athens, and Charlotte. I watched the solar eclipse from my favorite rooftop patio, while sipping frosé on the first day of school. I got invited to a fraternity date night and two semiformals. I got to watch an Atlanta United game at the new Mercedes Benz stadium. I got to go on a camping trip with my littles. I got to explore new aspects of my city and crossed off dozens more restaurants on my ATL Food Bucket List. I’ve suffered a few losses, but I just kept swimming and began to practice self love. I learned a lot about myself, as one does most years, but this year I have felt the most confident and emboldened I’ve ever felt.
Reflecting back, my resolution every year since I started college was to be more decisive. This is the year that I think I have finally achieved that. I know what I want, and I’ve started letting go of things and people to whom I’ve given one too many chances. People who don’t care about me as much as I do them, people who only associate with me when convenient, people who never have my best interest in mind, people who are not good for me. If you want to be friends, be a friend. If you want to talk, let’s have meaningful conversations. If you want to hang out, let’s make plans and follow through.
In becoming more decisive, however, I’ve also become very impatient with those who aren’t. When I was little, my dad always became irritated when I responded to his questions with “I don’t know” and now I see why. How do you work with an “I don’t know”? There’s no indication of which direction you want to go.
So looking forward to 2018, my goal is to become more patient. A large part of patience is understanding where people have been, a large part of it is compassion. I started watching This is Us this year, and throughout the episodes, you can blatantly see how the characters’ childhoods shaped them into the adults that they are. In real life, the only way you can find out about a person’s past is by talking to them. Some people take a while before they open up, and others aren’t comfortable enough to talk about it at all. Once you understand their past and have walked a mile in their shoes, you have to understand how their past affects them in the present.
Just a few days ago, I FINALLY watched Love Actually on Christmas Day, and the mini sequel Red Nose Day Actually. It was the perfect way to end the year. In addition to Hugh Grant’s impeccable dance moves, he can deliver quite the speech. After everything the world has experienced this year, this speech sums things up pretty well.
“Obviously, times for many people have got harder and people
are nervous and fearful.
And it’s not just in politics that things are tough.
Usain Bolt has run his last Olympics.
The Harry Potter films have finished.
Piers Morgan’s still alive.
But, let’s look at the other side of the coin.
Metallica’s new album is an absolute cracker.
And on a deeper level, I’m optimistic.
Wherever you see tragedy, you see bravery too.
Wherever you see ordinary people in need,
you see extraordinary ordinary people come to their aid.
Today’s Red Nose Day, and people are giving their hard-earned cash
to people who they’ll never meet, but whose pain and fear
they feel and want to fight.
So it’s not just romantic love which is all around.
Most people still, every day, everywhere, have enough love
in their heart to help human beings in trouble.
Good’s going to win.
I’m actually sure of it.”
Here are links to more wholesome stories of good things that have happened this year: