(New Year wishes tradition. 2016, 2015, 2014 here.)
This year let’s make wildlife cool again.
Much like how every boy and his cousin has a beard, let’s make having a personal mission for an endangered animal or even a plant, trendy. Before we know it tigers, giraffes, dolphins, the monarch butterfly, house sparrows and the Venus fly trap will be safe and thriving. And somehow, so will we.
This year let’s travel inside conversations we should have had long ago.
Find a way to shatter your own auto-responses, a way to only listen and respond when your friend, father or lover is breathlessly and absolutely out of words. Find a way to make tall turreted, gargoyle-flanked palaces out of conversations, I’ve found that some of mine have kept me warm through the harshest winters.
This year let’s read authors we’ve never heard of.
Angsty 16 year old blogs and Tumblr accounts your grown up self wants to roll eyes at, translated works from countries you can’t even place on the map and authors who have never met the inside of a best-sellers list. You’ll find that ideas of love, hate, questions, rejection, seeking and always seeking aren’t tied to people like you. In reading this year, find your tribe, voices you like and those that can start revolutions if they just find a stage big enough.
This year, stage your own chaos. Take safe jobs and yawning routines and smash them to bits. Be terrified and at 34/18/46/24 come up with a new plan. There’s a shimmering unknown horizon outside your comfort zone. It may not have a goals timeline, your four closest friends or your familiar Sunday morning coffee place, but it will have blood-pumping fear, the skin grazing jolt of that elsuive seductress called New and that place which reminds you that your 6year old self had far more vision, time and imagination than you do behind spreadsheets.
This year don't turn away.
From news and people you don't like or understand. The world is an unwieldy, magnificent giant beast of people and things that alternately thrill you and make your blood curl. Place your attention on things that matter, look at the horrors people like or nothing like you are committing and then find a way to do something about it. Even if all you manage at first is a rant and a phone call to a friend. Indifference kills, and they need to teach this in schools.
This year, like every year, love with the confidence of a clown in a circus who had acts like majestic, flaming lion tamers and lithe, exclamation shaped acrobats embrace mid-air, perform before him.
Love with his confidence, humour, ability to laugh at and dismiss his own vulnerability, bravery to stand up each time he falls down and to smile a big goofy smile even though his act feels like an exaggerated attempt in making a fool of himself.
Love bravely, it’s the only way to do it right. (Putting a big red nose on is entirely optional though.)
(One of my favourite days of 2016 was in August in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Palaces and soaring birds.)