Note: This blog post contains the F word. Close the page now if you’re a dumbass who’s offended by the existence of certain words.
Here we go again. We’re wrapping up another year and heading into a fresh one. In reality, the date means nothing — it’s a completely arbitrary point in an annual orbit around the sun. One day flows into the next in the planet’s endless rotation as it hurtles around the solar system at 30 kilometers per second on gravity’s tether.
But human beings need to break time down into easily-comprehended compartments. 20th century, 21st century. Nineties, two-thousands. 2016, 2017. December, January. Gen-X, Millennials. Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Morning, afternoon, oh crap, I missed an important one o’clock meeting.
Each unit is assigned an identity and set of characteristics that our monkey brains can understand, like mapping out the geography of time with fleeting landmarks. It’s not real, but at least we can understand it. Or we think we do.
Where was I going with this? Oh yes. Since the last time we passed this arbitrary point in our solar orbit, a lot of things have happened — a lot of truly shitty things, if you’ll excuse my language. I won’t list them. You know what happened. You were there too.
A positive retrospective
Instead, I’ll list five excellent things that happened during the last 365 rotations of Earth that I’m thankful for.
Work. For me, at least, 2017 marked a change in my career back to technical writing. I’m in the midst of a 14-month stint at a truly excellent software company where I get to work with a bunch of awesome nerds on a product everyone believes in. I’m grateful to have a meaningful job, even if it’s only temporary.
Home. Since I work downtown, I can justify moving back to my favourite part of Vancouver: Kitsilano. Why is Kitsilano awesome? Well, just take a look at it.
Virtual reality. 2017 should be noted as the year that virtual reality (as in the immersive headset variety) graduated from being a gimmick to a serious technology. All the major tech companies have invested heavily in this area because it is about to explode. In a good way.
Food. Okay, this one isn’t unique to 2017, but I like food. A lot. And because of that, I’m grateful that I’m able to make nice meals. And then eat them.
Family. Even when when things go really phenomenally wrong, family is there to help out. They don’t always get it right and, in fact, sometimes make things much, much worse, but my family always means well, and I’m grateful that they are nearby.
A realistic retrospective
And having said all that, FUCK 2017. Fuck Nazis. Fuck authoritarians. Fuck sociopaths who seek power. Fuck bigots and zealots. Fuck the flag-wavers. Fuck the small-minded sycophants who support the sociopaths in power. Fuck the intolerant who seek to strip others of the rights they themselves enjoy. Fuck climate-change deniers who profit from destroying life.
And finally, fuck the meek. The meek let 2017 happen. Keep that up, and there won’t be an Earth to inherit.
The 365 rotations of the earth may be an arbitrary construct, but it helps us to comprehend and compartmentalize events in our lives and in the world around us. The calendar year helps us to understand how completely fucked we are now compared to the year before.
On the other hand, by imagining a new year as a blank slate, we can motivate ourselves to steer in a new direction. In 2018, we can use the lessons of the previous year steer ourselves towards a more enlightened future. A future with, hopefully, a bit less fuckery.