So, here we are on the cusp of another new year. I don’t quite know how to feel about this new year’s eve. I didn’t know what to expect of 2017, and I feel somehow even less sure about 2018.
Of course, every year brings its ups and downs. I know there will probably be some good things in 2018, just as there were in this last year. In 2017, I finished my PhD, achieved my second publication, and accepted a faculty position in a new state. I know there will probably be some bad things ahead, too, just as 2017 had its share of difficulties. This past year has been a real struggle, psychologically, emotionally, and financially. And I know that the good and the bad, though they come every year, are not always fairly balanced.
But stoic teachings remind me constantly that, while I can’t always control what happens to me, I do have control over how I respond. So, I’ll try to respond to the good and the bad in the same way, with patience, acceptance, and maybe even a bit of levity. And while I enter the new year without any expectations, I do have one wish: that you will find health and happiness in the days ahead. That you will find genuine friendship, be treated to happy surprises, and experience many more ups than downs. I wish that, on the inevitable bad days, you will find strength and support, and the empathy of others.
They say nature abhors a vacuum. After a year such as this, I think it’s important to remember that hate, as a force of nature, will try its damnedest to seep into every crack and crevice, at every opportunity. In 2018, let’s insulate ourselves with love and let it be our impenetrable armor; let it fill us to the brim so that there are no cracks, no crevices–no vacuums–for hate to enter; let us live our days with decisions made of love, in everything from our driving habits, to our patience in the grocery check-out line, to the way we treat our co-workers, friends, and family; let’s love so hard and so long that we become exhausted with it, and then take a nap and carry on.
This year, if we could all accomplish one thing, let it be that we love until our spirits feel truly warm, and safe, and bright, and until hate has been left out in the cold for good. Let’s make 2018 a year of love.
Happy New Year. I’ll see you on the other side.
(P.S. To most of the world who are ahead of us in time zones, I know you’ll get to the new year first – but no spoilers!)