Happy New Year! One of the things that we talk about a lot on the podcast is the importance of context. We interpret things based on what we have been taught, the things that we believe, and the experiences that we’ve had. There are cultural contexts, professional contexts, religious and political contexts, all of which become the filters we use to make decisions and determine what course of action to take.
2017 is over and we don’t need to dwell on it. A lot of things went off the rails, but quite a few things turned out okay. Most of the problems we encountered are ongoing, and will carry over into 2018. Keep moving forward. Use the events of 2017 to help make better decisions. Allow it to create context that can help us to set better goals, make more effective decisions, and take the necessary actions to avoid more problems, fix the existing issues, and build something better for this year and beyond.
It’s not a matter of “forgive and forget”. There’s a lot that’s not forgivable, but that doesn’t mean we need to carry it around like a millstone, or an albatross. Let it go. Don’t forget, but let it go. Learn from it. Avoid making the same mistakes. Don’t miss the same warning signs. Try not to ignore small annoyances until they become overwhelming monsters that seem to suck up all of our time and resources.
There are some simplistic platitudes about love and fear being the opposing forces of the universe. As much as I dislike boiling down complex issues into easy sound bites, we live in a world where too many people do see things as black and white, good and evil. I can only use those ideas as context, and leverage it that way. In that sort of lowest-common-denominator world, 2017 was the Year of Fear. Everything was placed in the context of being afraid of other people, recoiling in horror from disasters, watching helplessly while ideals fell to ignorance and people were harmed be callousness and greed.
Let’s push back and make 2018 the Year of Love. Focus on how we can care about people more. Figure out how we can save people. Take a stand against fear and, while still feeling it, not allow it to overwhelm us. Use that fear to find things to love, things to protect, things to promote and embrace and push forward.