In 2017…

Happy New Year, everyone!

Allison’s Written Words is officially back open for writing fun in this, the year 2017.

I was thinking of a few things I’d love to see happen in 2017, both in the population and on the personal level. While I have set my own personal goals (and am still fine-tuning those goals), I also was thinking of what we can do to make 2017 better than 2016.

Let’s face it, the perception has been that 2016 was a terrible year.  And yes, in many respects, it was.  But let me get on the personal level.  Was it bad for you?  Did something happen to you personally that made 2016 so terrible?  Judging by my Facebook feed, I know quite a few people who had great years, and I know a few who hit snags, and a few that, yes, had bad years.  But was every part of it bad?  Was there still something redeeming to be had for the year?  Or are you basing your “bad year” on something that didn’t happen to you personally?

Whatever the reason, it is a new year.  It’s time to take on a positive attitude and be the improvement and happiness we should always strive for.

So, for what it is worth, let’s make a proposal for two things in 2017:

Be Kind to One Another: 2016 saw much tension, anger, and relationships (both friend and relation) ending because of the elections this past year.  While I only lost acquaintances because of either my political standpoint, or the fact that not all Republicans gloat (I saw a swift exit of two acquaintances from my Facebook friends within five minutes of that statement!), I heard far worse stories of families being torn apart, relationships ending, and friends unfriending in real life.  And it upsets me.  As someone who strives to be both the best for myself and for those I care about most, I would have been beyond heartbroken if this had happened to me.  Life is hard enough without knowing that someone you cared about realized they couldn’t handle being in your life because of who you voted for.  I’ve never seen anything like it, and I hope to never see anything like it ever again.

Relationships aren’t about just political standpoints, they’re about understanding, appreciation, and the finding of a common bond.  My boyfriend and I don’t share the same political belief, but that doesn’t make either of us love each other even less.  Why is that?  Because we have so many other things in common.  We have a bond that is deeper than party affiliation.  I contacted one of my closest friends the morning after the election to make sure we were still friends – I was scared I was going to lose her as a friend because we didn’t see eye-to-eye on this.  Let’s just say that was the most misguided fear I could have had.  Why, you ask?  Common bond!  We’ve had much bigger things test our friendship already, and it couldn’t beat our bond.

If party affiliation and elections signal the end of any type of relationship, than it was obviously not a relationship built on any type of substance.  And I feel sorry for anyone who has had to find this out.  Life is all about the lessons we can learn, and obviously, some relationships are lessons we must learn.

Find Your Happiness: Happiness begins from within, as I learned two years ago.  When I decided I had had enough with miserable and self-loathing individuals, I found happiness.  There is so much to be happy about, and even if I’m not in the mood to feel good about things, it isn’t hard to redirect.  That said, it is a struggle at times, but not impossible.  Happiness doesn’t have to be constant and unending, but you should always strive to find some happiness.  Look for positive news (I know, that tends to be difficult).  Say hello to a friend, even if it is a text or a Facebook message.  Heck, smile!

One thing I had always told my grandma (after my grandfather died), in response to her saying she wasn’t happy and couldn’t be happy unless she was with her grandkids, was that she needed to find her happiness.  I was eighteen years old at the time, and it seems like a really ambitious statement from an eighteen-year-old, but it is something we should try for.  We can’t rely on others to make us happy, so we start within.  Try it!

That’s it, two things.  Try this.  At the minimum, you just may be surprised at what happens.  At the maximum, you will realize that things aren’t so bad, and that 2017 could be your best year yet.

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