Be fierce. Be brave. Be kind in 2017

Published 12:15 am Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Here I am sitting in my quiet house on this late December morning sipping a second cup of coffee. The tree sits in the corner by the window, but I haven’t turned on the lights since Christmas night. My Buddha head in the window is wearing a Santa cap and my angel snowmen smile at me from the dining room.

In a bit, my daughter will wake up and probably insist I remove the decorations. For her, once she opens her presents and Christmas Day ends, it’s time to put away all traces of the holiday until next year. She lives by the rule when it’s done — it’s done. Move on.

I’ll do as she requests and put a period on the holly, jolly season of manger scenes, Santa and reindeer. The house will return to normal.

Maybe that’s a good way to end 2016. Acknowledge that it is over and done – time to move ahead. After all, what other option do we have but to move ahead?

As I prepare to do that, I can honestly say this was certainly a strange and interesting year. From almost the beginning there was the never-ending news cycle spinning around politics. I heard more about tweets and lost emails than I ever wanted to hear.

The silliness seemed to drown out the substance and it was exhausting trying to wade through what was true and what was fiction. I’m afraid more often than not, fiction had the upper hand in our reality-television society.

Hopefully, there will be less of that in the New Year. Lord knows we could do with less of the false social media news stories and fewer tweets from everyone.

As I sit quietly today, I am considering my personal old year and the approaching new one. I’ve now been alive for the beginning of 64 new years and at this one, I am doing my best to find hope in what feels a little like confusion. Maybe confusion isn’t the best word. It’s more uncertainty I think.

Of course, every year, heck every day, begins with uncertainty, doesn‘t it? The challenge is finding peace with not knowing the outcome in advance. That’s always a work in progress for me.

When I was a kid, I looked out at a future that seemed so distant, so out there somewhere. The years stretched before me in what felt like all the time in the world. It feels less that way nowadays. Sometimes if I stop too long and think too much about how there are more new years behind me than the ones that are ahead for me — well I don’t have to explain why I don’t particularly enjoy going there.

So here I am looking into the crystal ball that holds 2017 and doing my best to replace uncertainty with hopefulness. As I pondered how to do that, I came across this from a website called Positive Energy (an appropriate place for me to visit right now).

The quote said:

“If you want 2017 to be your year;

Don’t sit on the couch and wait for it.

Go out. Make a change.

Smile more. Be excited. Do new things.

Throw away what you’ve been cluttering. Unfollow negative people on social media.

Go to bed early. Wake up early.

Be fierce. Don’t gossip. Show more gratitude.

Do things that challenge you. BE BRAVE.”

I’d add two other things to the list. Be kind. Be tolerant of those who are different from you.

Well, my second cup of coffee is getting cold and I hear my daughter stirring in her room. It’s the day for un-decking the halls and packing away the Christmas holiday.

And no sitting and waiting with uncertainty for the arrival of 2017. Time to start being fierce and kind and grateful and brave. I think that is what our country and the entire world needs from every human right now if we are going to have a Happy New Year.


Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.