Nothing was half-assed this year. From peaceful activism to violent terrorism, mass shootings to mass prayer circles, blizzards in Australia to droughts on the West Coast, no one and nothing was all that subtle. Donald Trump became a thing again. Bill Cosby became a thing again. Star Wars became a thing again. Legends departed and legends were reborn.
In my own little world, babies seemed to drop out of the sky at every turn, and death wasn't any less insistent. Decades-spanning governments were dumped abruptly and unapologetically. Friends changed names, addresses, genders, and careers, seemingly quite suddenly. Old flames were reignited and lifelong friendships were buried in silence.
Sure, these things happen every year, but for some reason, 2015 seemed a bit more...intense. A little more extreme. Perhaps it was the many political campaigns across the globe, perhaps it was the moment when Facebook memes became an accepted form of communication, perhaps it was the whole terrorism thing. I don't know. I just know that all around me, people are lamenting, celebrating, cursing, and rejoicing 2015 in a way they did not in previous years.
For me, the year was one of waiting and watching - a far cry from what it seemed to be for everyone else. Nice things happened and shitty things happened and I was good to myself sometimes and bad for myself at other times and I did some things and I didn't do some things, but most of this year was sitting still, for better or worse. I'd be lying if I said I didn't regret my lack of action this year, but I'd also be lying if I said that stillness was in vain. I gained an understanding and appreciation for humanity, even when it's at its worst. I learned that even the most despicable and disappointing views can be, if not empathized with, at least understood. I allowed myself to stand strong in my stillness, refusing to sway. I got a little bit better at being honest while still being kind. I took a micro-step toward balance.
And that, dear everyone, is what I wish for you this coming year. I wish you understanding. I wish you kindness, both given and received. I wish you wisdom. I wish you stillness.
Mostly, though, I wish for everyone to take a breath and count to ten. I wish that we would stop and listen just a little more often. Or, you know, a lot more often. I wish for us to accept and understand that those with views different from ours likely aren't as terrible as we believe they are. That everyone has a reason for believing what they do, and that most of us are capable of changing our minds. I wish us a bit more patience, and a lot more empathy. I wish that when our knee-jerk reaction is to ban and silence, we consciously choose to instead engage and challenge. I wish we reached for the middle more often. I wish we feared less and embraced more. I wish that we judged less and appreciated more. I wish us all more strength and honesty, more tolerance and acceptance, more willingness to understand.
I wish for us to value the word "us" a lot more.