Dec 31, 2016

Happy New Year

kitten on a Christmas tree
Friends, my main wish for 2017 is a simple one: I hope we make it through, all of us. I hope it will be a year of successful resisting and surviving, but also a year with the kind of moments of joy that keep us all going.

I’m simultaneously more afraid of the future than I’ve ever been in my life and more prepared than ever to risk hope. This is a clumsy articulation, but here’s what I mean: I know we’re not the first people in history to experience this feeling of being at the end of time. I also know that the feeling is justified — the fact that it’s not new doesn’t mean it’s not a perfectly rational response to the very real political horrors we’re facing. What I’m trying to do is remember that for better or worse, we don’t really know what’s going to happen. There are vast expanses of time ahead of us full of unknowns and looming possibilities — the only thing that seems certain is that our lives seem unlikely to simply go on as before. I want to try to sit with that uncertainty, rather than to attempt to resolve it by slipping into either complete despair or facile optimism.

It’s hard. I share the ambivalence of today’s xkcd, but I’m trying to cling to the thought that “if we’re wrong about which bad things can happen, it’s got to make us at least a little less sure about which good things can’t”. And yet for now there’s a lot that’s keeping me going. I don’t know what things will look like midway through January; right now I don’t believe for a second that everything is going to be just fine, but I still hope we’ll somehow make it through and find whatever we need to carry on fighting. I suspect I’ll be constantly revising this feeling as the new year unfolds.

The other day I came across a quote on Maureen’s blog that perfectly articulates how I’ve been feeling about my life for some time now. It’s from a James Tiptree Jr letter, and it comes from Julie Phillips’ Tiptree biography (which I really need to read):
Certainly my inner world will never be a peaceful place of bloom; it will have some peace, and occasional riots of bloom, but always a little fight going on too. There is no way I can be peacefully happy in this society and in this skin. I am committed to Uneasy Street. I like it; it is my idea that this street leads to the future, and that I am being true to a way of life which is not here yet, but is more real than what is here.
I like it too. And of course there’s no such thing as a strict binary with “peacefully happy” and “miserable” as its two polar opposites. There’s joy in resistance. May 2017 be a year of renewed commitment to Uneasy Street.

I wish you all the very best for the New Year. Tomorrow I’m off to climb a mountain — see you in January.

17 comments:

  1. I am totally with you on the first paragraph! I hope for the best for all of us! Have a wonderful new year celebration on your mountaintop!

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  2. p.s. I found something wonderful to help your search for an optimistic approach! http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/30/opinion/sunday/eternal-optimist-talking-points-for-2017.html

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  3. Thank you for this, and thank you for your friendship and your light, which have been one of the things for which I am most grateful this year. Let's keep on surviving together.

    Happy new year!

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  4. Happy New Year!
    I guess one way of looking at the events of 2016 in a positive light is that it's shown how many people are speaking out against the negatives. I think that at least some people are very aware of history and the dangers of saying and doing nothing. So speaking out right now, before things change is so important.

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  5. I sure hope 2017 is better than 2016 was. Happy New Year!

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  6. Happy new year, Ana! If nothing else, we will all have each other, and that's a whole lot :-)

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  7. This is definitely a lot of how I feel too. It's strange to have the thought "I hope I don't end up with radiation poisoning next year". So, here's to a 2017 where the worst doesn't happen to any of us!

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  8. Happy new Year! Wishing you all the best in 2017!

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  9. Yes! I like that Uneasy Street quote! In my country we are paying for forgetting that. I feel I have had that attitude ever since I came of age. Staying alert, being willing to push back, and having a personal idea (even certainty) about what is right and good are essential to living in good times and bad. I thank you for passing that on. Innocence is not ever a solution or an excuse.

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  10. Here is to a successful resisting & surviving - I love that and am right there with you! Wishing you a wonderful 2017!

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  11. Happy New Year! Many hugs and loves to you, and I hope 2017 brings good things despite our fears

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  12. I will be walking Uneasy Street with you. Are you literally off climbing a mountain? I hope you are having fun!

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  13. Happy New Year! I appreciate the quotes and thoughts you have shared here.

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  14. Happy New Year! Wish you everything that is good, and the strength to survive the bad <3

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  15. I've been sitting here with this comment box for literally the past 20 minutes trying to put my jumbled thoughts into some sort of sensible, coherent form. But I'm still failing. I so get that Uneasy Street is where I need to live...but I'd be lying if I said I'd made peace with that yet. I'm trying.
    Happy New Year, Ana! I hope you don't mind company in your clinging to the fact that we really don't know that good things can't happen.

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  16. I'm so grateful for all the people who are committed to Uneasy Street. <3 <3

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  17. Happy belated new year, friend.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.