Or: out with the old and in with the new.
First of all, this blog is not dead. I’ve not posted in a while and the last few posts were few and far, but I am travelling and I am also freelancing when I am stationary for a few days somewhere, so this blog does not enjoy much of a priority right now.
But it is the 1st of January of the newest year of our current reckoning in the Gregorian calendar. This is, of course, arbitrary, because not everyone on this planet acknowledges or even knows about this calendar. It is widely celebrated nonetheless and welcomed with fireworks around the world.
I am in Melbourne, so I watched the ten-minute fireworks showcased here. Afterward everyone went home. In Berlin, my hometown, people will keep using up their fireworks until at least tomorrow. The difference couldn’t be more striking.
At the turn of the year, no matter how arbitrary it might seem, one does find oneself contemplating what has happened during the past 365 days and looking ahead towards the next. I am not going to write a summary of my year, though it would help me to remember all the things I’ve done and all the places I have visited. I find I’m starting to lose track of everything that has happened in the first half of this year; partly because it feels as if it happened a long time ago.
It has certainly been a very eventful year. For me personally it’s been a good year. There may have been a few lows, but they were mainly little dips or detours on an overall positive journey. And whilst one feels that time flies faster and faster the older one gets, 2014 was so full of life and living that it strikes me as a particularly long year. That doesn’t change the fact that it is hard to believe that it is already over and I have to wonder where it went.
The last time I wrote anything in my journal was a year ago. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but I am thinking that I should get back to it, even if I keep it brief. I don’t need to write long-winded entries, but it does help to put a year into perspective and you never know when it might come in handy in the future.
Now, 2015 is starting on a high note for me as I am continuing my trip around the world. I have all of January and February left and plenty still to see and do. It will be a challenging year once I return home in order to establish myself as a freelance writer full-time. I am also planning to settle down a little more steadily, which will open a new chapter in my life.
It’ll be a good year, methinks. It’ll be what I will make it in any case.
I won’t go out without a nod to my hero Neil Gaiman, who comes up with New Year’s wishes every few years. This year he wrote the following:
“I wasn’t going to write a new one this year. But…
Be kind to yourself in the year ahead.
Remember to forgive yourself, and to forgive others. It’s too easy to be outraged these days, so much harder to change things, to reach out, to understand.
Try to make your time matter: minutes and hours and days and weeks can blow away like dead leaves, with nothing to show but time you spent not quite ever doing things, or time you spent waiting to begin.
Meet new people and talk to them. Make new things and show them to people who might enjoy them.
Hug too much. Smile too much. And, when you can, love.”
You can find the others that he wrote here. They’re all worth a read and worth remembering.
Let’s not forget that the sun doesn’t revolve just around you and me, though. 2014 was not the greatest year in recent history. There have been three major airplane disasters. One plane disappeared without a trace, another one was shot down and a third one crashed only a few days ago after initially disappearing as well.
There’s been horrible strikes on Gaza. Russia annexed Crimea resulting in a major crisis in the Ukraine. ISIS became a dangerous force in the middle east. We’re in the middle of the worst Ebola outbreak ever. And let’s not forget about Ferguson.
These are only a few things I can think of off the top of my head. We’re not getting better in making the world a better place. So let me add another of Neil’s New Year’s wishes to the one above. He wrote it three years ago:
It’s a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world.
So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you: in the world to come, let us be brave – let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we’re faking them.
And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation.
So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.
We need bravery if we ever hope to solve the problems we have created.