Hard Words for the New Year

I’d like to make a statement before 2017 arrives.

A lot of people (many of my friends, anyway) have explicitly cursed 2016. This is actually not new–I’ve heard people cursing the year in pockets for several years now. When favorite icons (too young to be gone or too aged to ever leave us) die, when the nation (and world’s) politics go to an absurd place, when human beings perpetrate horrors on each other, it’s taken as a cue to cuss out the uniting theme. That being, an arbitrary calender limit.

And I understand. I do.

But blaming the numerical year is pointless. And I think it’s actually harmful.

Anthropomorphizing it into the villain shifts the blame to something no one can prevent.

Instead of saying “F___ cancer”, can we start a dialogue about the reasons our cancer rates are soaring and pharmaceutical companies are making a lot of money off of not curing it?*

Instead of saying “F___ 2016” can we talk about the way medicating (be it through doctors or self-drugging) instead of healing the wounds is destroying people who had way more to give?**

Instead of blaming The Opposition, when both sides are consistently trying shout down the other, can we meaningfully engage in the problems that are at the root?***

I’d like to challenge you in 2017:

  • Do things for your body that will help it repair, instead of attacking itself
  • Seek out healing of emotional wounds, even if it’s ugly work, instead of numbing them
  • Listen, ask questions, and find common ground with people who don’t agree with you

It’s easy to feel helpless–like all you can do is curse. This isn’t true.

And while I don’t mean to say you can’t express rage–let’s not stop there.

 

*There are so many leads on how to heal and prevent cancer, but they are not a vaccine and it won’t be distilled down to a drug. And our system doesn’t want to hear it.

**People are still dying. Our medications are not enough. And addiction is the opposite of connection–there is so much that can be done, if we’re willing to work harder, longer to make things right.

***Are there people who are 100% in the wrong? Absolutely. But you would be hard pressed to find someone who had a change of heart from being screamed at by someone they perceived as their enemy.

 

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