As the calendar year comes to a close, and brings to an end 2016 (our dating system always makes me smile….we ascribe so much to it and use it as a basis for understanding our world, but it is a very random date….anyway, maybe some other time I will reflect on that..) I am faced with mixed emotions as I always am at this time of year.
We always seem to find so many ways to name the year that was. We tend to focus on negative aspects, but also positive ones too. Personally, there were challenges in 2016 both personally and professionally. However there were also great highlights too, that will surely go down in my memory banks as fantastic times. As a musician and lover of music, I saw 2016 as the year we said goodbye to Prince and David Bowie among others, but also the year that I happily downloaded a new Rik Emmet CD, worked on some of my own compositions (coming someday to an iTunes near you…) and had the opportunity to play with some other great musicians and let music provide the relief to my life it always does.
While my travel itinerary was not as active as it has been in past years, I was able to travel to a part of Quebec I had only seen briefly many years ago, and renew my love of rural Quebec culture and life. I was also thrilled to host some friends from France and allow them to understand firsthand the beauty that is Canada and our part of the world.
However, as the year comes to a close, and I think of the challenges that lie ahead in 2017 as well as the joys I hope to experience, I look around at a world that is just a bit crazier than it was 365 days ago. From a macro, geopolitical point of view, how many of us, on December 31st, 2015 truly envisioned a successful Brexit campaign, a turning to the right in much of Eastern Europe and of course, the Donald? Really, not many saw those things coming. As a student of history, I do believe that humanity is on a constant path of improvement and an inevitable march towards a better world, but that it will always ebb and flow. I think we are in an ebb and only entering it. However, while it is easy to look at it and suggest in the long march of history it is not much more of a blip than the Terror during the French Revolution was, there is the undeniable fact that during all of these historical “blips” or dips along the path towards and enlightened society, many people suffer. I suggest we all pay closer attention to Syria and Aleppo to see the harsh reality in that statement.
So I am left to wonder to myself where it will all go. I routinely try very hard to focus only on positive and let the negative go, but I know I am not always successful. So, moving into 2017 I have many things to be thankful for, and there are many more things that I can consciously do to make my life even better, but at times it is a struggle to not allow oneself to fall into the boiling cauldron of negativity that is perpetuated by so many of the institutions we have in our world. Furthermore, connectivity and social media have made it almost impossible to hide from it, without completely leaving the modern world.
So, how will I fare in 2017? Will I manage to be a beacon of inspiration, hope and positive thoughts, surrounded at times by the vortex of the world we live in? I hope I am and I will pledge to continue to do so. Stay tuned. Fare thee well, 2016, welcome 2017 and stay tuned!