2017 wasn't bad at all

You know how they say, this year has to be better than last year? Well, me, I don’t. 2017 was just fine by me. In fact, there were days in which I thanked God and the angels and all the divinities of all religions that ever graced humanity that I was not in pain and life felt good and things were ticking along in a pleasing way, and I don’t want to forget those days, let them suffocate under the pile of trash.

There is no pile of trash. There are terrible things that happen every year, with the regularity of the human condition, and these things are terrible and make you cry and tinge your days with anguish. People hate each other and hurt each other and perpetrate injustices that rend the fabric of the universe.

But the universe mends. It mends when you sip your cool, sweaty beer and watch a football game. It mends every time you rescue yourself from dejection and breathe.

This is not to be taken for granted, this breathing. Not because you could stop breathing the very next second, though of course that too, but because humanity is mostly made up, at any given time, of people who breathe while doing their jobs with contentment, playing in the yard, sipping tea, eating meals, traveling to and from places, walking the city, thinking about this or that, cracking a smile, watching TV shows, meeting at Starbucks, reading. At any given time there are many, many more people who smile than people who cry. That’s why we get smiling rather than crying wrinkles, most of us.

Violence and hatred are ordinary — they will always be with us. But contentedness, happiness, the capacity for simple wellbeing, they are more ordinary. Even in our most brutal days it is quite possible that we had one moment that was all right. We default to all right.

So when you think that people far from you or close to you suffered or died in 2017, also think that people far and away, very likely those same people, had decent, peaceful, happy days in 2017.

You can’t all by yourself heal the massive wounds of the world. It takes lots of time and lots of people and lots of history to heal them, and then others will crack open, and it will take generations to close those. You can spend all your time agonizing over the massive wounds of the world, but then you’d forget the people, the teeming masses of folks who run to their jobs or wake up to pancakes, those who go to bed for a decent night’s sleep while their lungs bring in oxygen, and their hearts pump it into their bodies.

You would be forgetting us, the militant livers, the breathers, the working bees delighting in flowers and pollen and in the simple activity of beating wings. You would be forgetting you.

And listen, I know you think that you fuck up all the time. Of course you do. We all fuck up incredibly much. That, too, is okay. If you don’t accept that you’ll fuck up big and small at least once a day, you forget that you are human. Be human. No one is asking you to be superhuman. Be the bee. Not the queen bee, the working bee.

Whatever you do, unless it’s evil (try not to do evil things, but if you do, forgive yourself, ask forgiveness of others, and start again), is part of the universe mending itself from the grievous damage that is done to it. The universe is counting on you to keep doing whatever you are doing, simply, one minute at a time. Don’t be arrogant. Don’t think you know better than the universe, than history. Be humble. Do your bit. Go easy. Start again. Keep trucking.

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