What can be said about 2016? I suspect much will be written now, at the turning of the year, and much will be written in the future. It feels odd to know that the time in which you are living will, one day, be condensed and summarised, become the stuff of doctoral theses and textbooks.
Race, gender, sexuality, privilege, flashpoints we hoped had been consigned to the past, flared again. We have seen the rise of a politics of fear, of hate-filled, vitriolic rhetoric. The shores of our sanity have been battered by wave after wave of bad news and death. Childhood heroes have passed away, so too have thousands of unknown strangers, a few of their faces made it to our papers and our screens; we repress thoughts of the hundreds of others each image represents. We grieve for those we never met. People close to us, truly beloved to us, have died. Their loss uncovers an empty void, a vacuum, at the heart of us. It feels like it will never be filled.
The end of the world is nigh cry the hawkers on the street corners and, for the first time, part of us believes them. The universe has conspired to make 2016 Generation Y’s annus horribilis, a rude awakening, a baptism of fire in to adulthood. We cannot compute, cannot comprehend. We close our eyes and put our fingers in our ears. We seek out darkness and white noise. We fight against the fear.
We must fight against the fear. Fear is not the answer, neither is denial, nor disengagement nor escape. Do not let fear stop you from living, from loving, from travelling, from learning, from feeling. By doing these things in spite of our fears, to spite our fears, the fear will lessen. It may not disappear but it can be conquered. The new year brings a new start, new purpose. Enter it looking fear in the eye and live every moment.