I was just going to write Happy New Year, or say something about the burden of 2016, and then decided to turn this blog in a more positive direction. (I have written quite enough about my disenchantment with 2016.)
Instead, I want to think about all the GOOD things I’ve learned from a year that had me riding the wave. Yes, I was heartbroken, angry, and left numb at the roller coast ride that was the catastrophic 2016. But, then I thought about a few of the miraculous events that took place this year that helped me gain knowledge from the Universe. (If we cannot learn from what drags us down or causes us pain, then we aren’t taking advantage of growing as individuals.)
This year some incredible events actually did take place!! I mean, who would have thought that 50 years after I first listened to Bob Dylan that he would have received the Nobel Prize? Now THAT is something extraordinary isn’t it? (I do have to take a moment out and thank my friend, Marla Schaefer for being the first person to introduce me to Dylan’s album, which totally rocked my musical world!)
SOMETIMES greatness takes time to be appreciated and honored. Therefore, I learned patience and appreciation when Bobby “Zimmerman” won such a prestigious award more than half a century after he recorded his first commercial album. So, THANK YOU 2016 for giving me a lesson in patience and understanding. I now realize that brilliant minds and poetry written or sung can indeed make a difference and change the world. My hope is that this achievement will encourage more funding for educational programs to promote writing, poetry and music in schools in the year that is to come.
Next, I am grateful for all I have learned watching and listening to Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her perseverance, her intellect, her patience and determination for decades, and her grace under fire, taught me that sometimes the smartest person in the room doesn’t always win or get the job. And although she and the women (and men) who supported her did not reach our ultimate goal, she DID CHANGE HISTORY!!! (That somehow has been underplayed and forgotten in this election). She WAS the first woman to ever run as a major candidate for The Presidency. And that is no small feat when you look at the role of women in American history. Hillary is a bit like the late, great John Glenn, who may never have been able to land on the moon, but he WAS the first to orbit the earth! And without him, others could not have gone as far or even dreamed of reaching their goals.
So while 2016 did not give me the first female President in my lifetime (thus far), it did give America a role model for all the girls growing up in this country. One is my own grand daughter who suddenly became aware that she could be more than a Disney Princess. She could make her own choices and become ANYTHING she wanted to be. (Even a princess if that was her choice. But SHE was in control of her destiny.) She could lead a nation if that was what she chose to do. And while it personally broke my heart that women did not go as far as I had hoped, we still went further than ever before. Because when I grew up, it would never have even been a dream in the 1950’s, that I could possibly have run for President of the United States. But now girls know that it IS a possibilty! And that’s really progress!
AND most of all, 2016 has taught me that NEVER can we as a people, become complacent with the world, or our country as it is, because at any time, our freedom and our equality can be taken away. And if we refuse to look at history and respect and believe in it, we will be forced to repeat the mistakes of the past. (We cannot go forward without honoring the past to give us guidance.)
Yes, I have learned all that. The fact that two people from my generation, a musical, poetic genius, and a female who has made children, women, education and healthcare a priority in her lifetime, changed the roles that had been previously defined for them is monumental! Artists can earn awards they never imagined, and women can soar to great heights and inspire others to dream beyond the boundaries that were put in their pathway.
And “We the people”, have learned never to be content with the status quo, because society is fickle and can change like the wind. Thus, my words to all of you for the upcoming year are this:
“Do not go gentle into that good night” (Dylan Thomas)
Be kind to others. Love your neighbor, no matter what their race, religion or gender may be. Strive to learn and reach your goals. Think about all the positive things you can do to make this a better world. Never ever give up!!! And be grateful. Happy New Year. May 2017 bring you enlightenment, joy, and the ability to be kind and make a difference. Peace out… xoxo