2016: A Cup of Disappointment
Several years ago I initiated a ‘renewable’ title for my New Year blog posts, the year followed by “A Cup of…” the one word that seemed to encapsulate the year. The first year I took the idea from “Auld Lang Syne” lyric and the film, It’s a Wonderful Life – “we’ll drink a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne,” and that was a year of kindnesses I experienced. In the years since I have searched for one word that personifies the year. The planet’s collective voice utters in one heaving gasp that 2016 was the most horrific year in recent memory. I don’t disagree, but it was not a year of horror; other years have more legitimate claims to that word.
With the Brexit vote protests in the UK last summer, the US Presidential election protests in November, and open resistance to the presidency of the pussy grabber continuing, some would call this the year of electoral protest. Again, other years may have a claim to the moniker ‘the year of the protest,’ although 2016 is likely in the top five.
To give the year 2016 a suitable appellation, I consider the social, political, and personal influences in my life. I admit I was a bit of a social recluse. The year was certainly fraught with political disappointment; yes, I detest the U.S. having elected the tycoon and no doubt will write about that in the future. (I’m with her.) In 2016 I also had some personal losses: my faithful, beautiful German Shepherd, Zoie, passed this year at 15 ½ years old. My son’s paternal grandmother, a kindhearted woman, passed away just before Christmas 2016. Although I did not personally know the musicians, performers, and celebrities who passed away in 2016, their lives have influenced mine for decades. Others will write about the deaths of many beloved humanitarians, performers, artists, writers, athletes, and world leaders. Some may say it was a year of death or loss. I share the grief of so many around the world, I will miss the music, words, performances, and influence of many we lost in 2016. Nevertheless, other years have seen more death than 2016.
As I reflect on public events, a name for the year 2016 eludes me. I turn to my personal accomplishments for the year, and I see the nothing. I completed four graduate level courses for professional development at work, I consolidated significant debt, I donated a pick-up load of household items, and I started (and then postponed) swimming for fitness twice a week. I thoroughly enjoyed a natural hot springs in June. I went to the mountains once; I live in Colorado – one of the most beautiful states in the continental US – and I went to the mountains just ONCE in 2016! I took only a few photographs of nature, something I have long enjoyed as a hobby. I wrote a few personal journals and even fewer blog posts. Now, I see a pattern for 2016 – the year of personal diminution. The year 2016 brought a measure of success, but that success was diminished by my lack of creativity and zest for life. My working life, financial well-being, and political disappointment have so eclipsed my personal creativity, curiosity, and enrichment that I no longer recognize the woman in the mirror. Who the hell is she, and what does she hope to achieve in 2017?
While working on professional and financial goals, I’ve neglected my personal interests and passions – the things I live FOR. As it seems I have reached the nadir of personal enrichment in 2016, I want to reach for a new height of creativity and expression in 2017. That starts now, on Day One.