It’s 5.30pm on 31st December 2016 and, round my way this year, there’ll be no shortage of people cheering heartily once midnight rolls around.
Let’s face it, 2016 has really done a number on some notable heroes from our yoof, especially if you’re an 80s kid like me. And that’s just the shit-flavoured icing on the giant Misery Cake everyone claims they never ordered, but which we’ll still get billed for anyway: Syria, The Yemen, Trump, Terrorists, and a sound kick in the balls for ‘liberal middle class values’ in general.
So, globally, yeah, 2016 can do one. Closer to home, though, how has the year treated you?
You know, thinking about it from a personal point of view, I can still find plenty of cause to smile. There was a decline in my workload.. but the flip side of that was a blissfully carefree summer, day after day outside enjoying the open air with my girl. Picnics, parks, all the ‘best things in life are free’ type stuff (apart from Waitrose olives, which are quite expensive..)
It was this year Eva graduated from hating water to loving it, no doubt helped by
climate change clement weather, and the refurbishment of our local park paddling pool (It’s the Stoke Park one, and its really worth a visit next summer if you’re local and haven’t been). We enjoyed our first family holiday abroad with mine and Himself’s parents, eating up the Italian lakes… and all the gelato we could get our hands on. In my attempt to budget I discovered second hand clothing groups and, despite rocking the appearance of someone who’s just fallen through a hedge backwards myself, became a little more savvy when dressing Eva.
Overall this year was the year I got to see a lovely baby grow into a lovely toddler, knitting our family ever-closer in the process. And that, 2016, is worth a thank you, and some gratitude before we all ask you to ‘get out.. and stay out’.
But back to the more global issues for a moment, because the future of this world is bound to loom large in any Mother’s mind. A lot of my social circle were roundly dismayed by the turn of the political tides this year, myself included. Hands were wrung, fingers pointed.. One pal treated myself and the little one to a ‘Consolation Afternoon Tea’, which I remember fondly. Hahah – if ever a slice of cake could be described as ‘bittersweet…’.
But I’ve been listening with interest to commentators who have put some of this down to a widening social divide in this country and beyond. As many have observed, social media may exacerbate this as it is tailored to reinforce what we already believe to be true, creating a ‘bubble’ effect where you just assume that most people think the same as you, based upon what Facebook filters, etc, would have you believe. And, well, it’s all very well for me to slag off The Daily Mail for being a fear-mongering arsewipe of a paper but, equally, just reading The Guardian can cause a different sort of prejudice, I think.. one where you just assume that anyone who doesn’t share every one of your progressive views is an idiot. I find that worrying. And I’d like Eva to have grow up in a household where she gets the chance to form fully rounded opinions.
So that’s a lesson from 2016, and one more resolution to add to the burgeoning list for 2017 (1) Get up earlier, 2) Get a grip, 3) Blog more regularly… 4) find additional news sources. I’ve literally no idea where I could find totally unbiased news if there is even such a thing (Reuters…?) – in fact many advise just reading a broad range of biased news from opposing camps – but either way, I hope I can at least try to see things a little more broadly by supplementing my beloved BBC Radio 4. Because I’d like to try and understand a little more about wtf is going on. And, yup, I’m scared of that particular rabbit-hole. I’m not at all sure I’ll like what I find.. I wont be able to un-know it. But, let’s face it, like most human beings, I am biased. If I don’t make an effort to understand world events from more than one perspective, then what am I learning? And what can I pass on to help Eva make informed decisions? Wish me luck… and I welcome any pointers…
In the meantime, here’s something doing the rounds on Twitter which casts a more positive light on a much-maligned year. Seems a nice note to close upon:
I hope this strange year has brought you something to smile about. And, if it has been a little short on such moments, then I wish you all the best for the next one.
Happy 2017. From all of us.