A Brave New World?

jmwturner_sunrise_with_sea_monsters
Sunrise with Sea Monsters, J.M.W.Turner

New year, new you – or so the saying goes anyway.

I’ve never really been a massive fan of New Year, and I rarely make resolutions. I’m an absolute Christmas fanatic, but as far as I’m concerned NYE is just any other day. No better, no worse. For me, September has always seemed more of a fresh start. A time for new pens and pencils, the clean white pages of brand new exercise books and promises to work harder than ever. It marked the start of a new school year, my transition to College, then University and later a Masters that I quickly dropped out of. Instead I took a job in a school so September still holds all the significance it did when I was just a child myself.

This year is different though. 2016 has been quite the annus horribilis for all concerned. Frankly, I’m looking forward to seeing the back of it. From Brexit, to Trump, Aleppo, the refugee crisis, Jo Cox and the litany of celebrity deaths, 2016 has been, on the whole, pretty naff. Don’t get me wrong there have been some wonderful, wonderful moments that have made me glow with happiness but if I’m honest, at times, it’s broken my heart. This coming from the woman who wears rose-tinted glasses 24/7.

But 2017 is a new start. We have a chance to make things right. Anything can happen and we can do anything we want, as long as we work hard enough, together. Grab this opportunity with both hands and make the most of our chance to reflect on what wasn’t working out for us this year, and how we can resolve that for the next. How we can be kinder, better, more socially conscious humans for the year ahead, both in our personal lives and on a wider scale.

In response to the doom and gloom of 2016 my resolution is to be a kinder person. I’m not expecting to make a massive difference, but if just enough people show kindness to those around them it’s enough to make a dent in the whole insular, self-serving thing it seems like the world’s got going on right now. It’s the little things that matter. Even if you just make one person smile, it’s something. Buy flowers, cook a nice meal, donate to charity, speak up for black rights, help old ladies struggling with their shopping, object to casual homophobia, let people know you’re there if they need you.

Fighting hate with hate never works. Instead we have to be good. It seems so cheesy and naive but when a small majority is dead set on pitting itself against everyone, love is powerful. Smiles are powerful. Saying hello to strangers on the street is powerful. Being the bigger person. As Dumbledore said:

            ‘‘We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord                Voldemort’s gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing bonds of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. (Can we just make J.K.Rowling queen of the world? Please?)

Have a fantastic new year and remember, be brave, be kind and most importantly, be happy.

Photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunrise_with_Sea_Monsters

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