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Friday, January 2, 2015

Top 2014 News and New Year's Resolutions

So 2014 is over and mostly I feel astonished that time goes by so quickly. Sometimes I want to press the pause button, and savor life while my children are young, while I know health and happiness. But there’s no such thing as a pause button for real life, and I’ve come to learn that adulthood is mostly is about savoring the best moments and getting through the rest. Meanwhile, there’s always room for improvement, always forward steps that can be made, so that the moments to savor will outnumber the rest.

Sure, a lot of it is out my control, but I like to believe that everyone makes an impact no matter how small, and before I write my New Year’s resolutions, I always look back and take stock. 2014 was just like any other year, I suppose, in that our mistakes were numerous and there’s still a lot to learn:

  • The conflict in Ukraine caused thousands of unnecessary deaths, displaced millions, and now things between Russia and the U.S. are as strained as a long-distance relationship.

  • The Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappearance was tragic and I can’t imagine what the passenger’s families are still going through, but CNN went crazy with their 24-hour news coverage, and all the conspiracy theorists have emerged from the dark basements in which they live.

  • Speaking of dark, the rise of ISIS is terrifying, but what’s even scarier is that we can’t resolve our own issues here at home. The heartbreaking deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and the violent protests that followed, makes me wonder if this county has forgotten progress.

  • Certainly, we ought to have the power of knowledge in this digital age, but the spread of misinformation during the Ebola outbreak was like a deadly virus itself.

  • Oh yeah, the Republicans took over the Senate. I would have seen red if I hadn’t totally seen it coming.

  • At least Obama is now free to do what he wants, whether it’s an executive order about immigration or laughing at Congress as they sue him over healthcare.

  • Still, all this makes me wish for simpler times, like say, the 1980s, when Bill Cosby was the world’s best dad, life could be laughed at, and problems could be solved in 24 minutes while wearing a fabulous sweater.

What have I learned? What do I resolve for next year? Read on!

1. I will be brave.
There isn’t much sniper fire here in West Des Moines; okay, actually there is none that I know of. I’m lucky that I don’t need to hide behind a barricade every time protesters and security forces clash, and my little conflicts are silly in comparison. Still, if I encounter a student in need, if I am backed into a corner of incompatible opinions, if I need to stand up for someone who can’t stand up for themselves, I’ll do it.

2. I won’t rush to judgment.
Sometimes, backing away can look like charging forward, and raising your hands in resignation may be misinterpreted as an act of war. I’m not immune to jumping to quick conclusions so I resolve to listen to the people in my life and turn down the reactive voices in my head.

3. I’ll try not to panic.
The world is a scary place. Planes fall into the ocean and deadly viruses claim innocent children. While brave medical workers remain unruffled in the face of danger and sacrifice, others are blinded by fear. Maybe a hero is a person maintains their vision in the face of adversity.

4.When I lose, I’ll still act like I’ve won.
I mean, I won’t be obnoxious about it. But come on, enough already. There’s only so much reaching across the aisle you can do. Sometimes you have to surrender the fight but that doesn’t mean you have to surrender yourself. I’m looking forward to the next two years. A lame duck can be a powerful duck.

5. I’ll speak out when I have something important to say.
A woman shouldn’t have to wait to say what’s difficult until there’s a dozen other  women ready to back her up. We shouldn’t cower to the rich and influential, but we do. In my little world the rich and powerful include work superiors and bossy neighbors, but I resolve to remember that my voice can be just as loud as anyone else’s.

On this New Year’s Day, I braid my daughter’s hair, read a story to my son, eat crab dip with my family while watching football on our big screen TV, and lay my head against my husband’s shoulder as we pause, however briefly, to savor the moment.

The only thing left is to my keep my resolutions, and to wish you and yours peace, power, and perspective for 2015.