Why the World Didn’t Go to Hell in 2017

I went to the movies tonight to watch Coco.

Ok…fine. You got me. It was my second time seeing it.

If you haven’t seen the latest from Disney-Pixar, I highly recommend it. Sure, it’s a kids’ movie, but like so many Disney-Pixar classics, there’s something in it for everyone.

The movie is a beautiful celebration of Latin culture, the likes of which we haven’t really seen in animated film, at least not to this extent. The cast is made up of various Latin actors and singers, and the story is set in Mexico.

It’s based on Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, the Mexican holiday in which the deceased cross over into our world to visit their living descendants. It’s not a scary thing. It’s not a mournful thing. It’s a comforting thing.

The movie emphasizes the importance of family, but also the importance of remembrance. It reminds us that in keeping our history close to us, we will always have a sense of where we came from, the people and events that have shaped us into the people we are, and the purpose for the traditions we uphold.

History is important. History repeats itself.

We know this. This is a thing we often hear repeated over and over again, so much so that it almost becomes idiomatic – spoken, but only conveying a general feeling or sense, rather than holding any real meaning or gravity when once it did.

Still, people continue to say it whenever the timing seems right, or whenever they’re trying to draw a correlation to something they think they’re seen before.

History does repeat itself, but maybe that’s because humans are predictable, and while many of us would like to think otherwise, we don’t always learn from our mistakes.

After all, the collective consciousness is a hard thing to govern. Our own individual consciousness is tricky enough to get ahead of and manage. We’re constantly fighting against our own emotions, circumstances, outside influences, etc. We want what’s not only best for ourselves, but for the people around us. Sometimes, we even want what’s best for our communities, or the world.

It’s a lot to consider.

And so, we turn to things like “grounding,” and meditation and yoga to tap into our spirituality and to try to understand ourselves a little better. We try journaling, drawing, and other forms of artistic expression to delve a little deeper into our psyches. We listen to music and watch sad movies to see where a little catharsis gets us. And sometimes, we seek out mentors.

Mentors are those we turn to when we need guidance. We want to know what they would do if they were in our shoes, even though we know that no one could possibly understand what the world looks like from our very eyes. Yet, guidance is just that – a model, or even a blueprint. It’s something to help us find our way to the answers we’re looking for. It doesn’t necessarily provide the answer itself.

2017 did not turn out to be the Year of Less Crazy that we were hoping for after a pretty crazy 2016. But we’re still standing as a country. How sturdy of a stance we’re maintaining is debatable, and it varies depending on the different criteria you choose to look at, but we’re still standing.

Good for us! Now what?

Where does the new year take us? Is January of 2018 just an arbitrary date that we all look to as a reset? It’s really no different of a timestamp than any other randomly chosen date. Besides, January is a miserable time of year, at least it is in much of the United States. Christmas decorations are down. Everything is frozen. And sales suffer a slump.

It may be arbitrary, but it’s still a date. It’s universally understood as the beginning of something, and that’s enough to get everyone on the same page.

People are looking for betterment. The start of a new year is a wake-up call for the fact that we’ve been all been chugging along for a full 365 days – and where has it gotten us? Are we better off than we were 365 days ago?

That’s a loaded question. You don’t have to answer right this minute. In fact, sit on it for a bit. Take stock of it all. Write it down, if it helps.

Think, first, about your well-being. Are you happier today that you were a year ago? If not, why is that? And what can you do about it?

Think also about the state of things…your career, your love life, your finances, your family, your school, your community, your city, your country…

It’s a lot to consider, yes, but reflection is important.

Remembrance is important.

2017 was a tough year for many. Personally, it was my hardest year to date. But the fact that I’m not only still standing, but I’m standing stronger than ever in my own authenticity, infinitely more happy than I was a year ago is indicative of the fact that I’m on the right path. I may not be where I’m going yet, but I’m doing something right along the way.

Can the same be said for our nation, if you expand the scope? Are we more united as a nation, or divided? Are we headed in a direction that will lead to growth, inspiration, and stronger leadership? Are we evolving into a nation that we can continue to be proud of?

There is no right or wrong answer to any of these questions, but while you’re contemplating your own ideas about them, we can at least celebrate that the fact that the world didn’t go to hell in 2017 because we didn’t want it to.

Cheers, to 2018.

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