The Year to Come

The new year is a time for beginnings and endings— a chance to celebrate the past while looking forward to the future. 2016 has tirelessly provided us a ride that dipped and peaked into happiness, fear, accomplishments, and setbacks. For each person who was a passenger, the ride will be defined distinctively.

As I celebrated the coming of 2017, and waved farewell to a year of abrupt change, I felt a rich happiness. However, accompanied by my joy and anticipation was fear. My safety, and the vulnerability of my rights as a woman feel especially threatened this coming year. I say this privileged; I am a white American, sleep in a warm bed, enjoy health, and receive an education. I have benefited from the revolutionary women before me, soaked in the freedom that men have bled for, and had the privilege to fail and succeed independently. Although 2016 defeated mighty feats such as welcoming the first female presidential candidate and taking the first step to protect our planet, it ended in an ominous atmosphere.

Fear and excitement, however, are often hard to distinguish; one struggles to exist without the other. Roller coasters or first days would not be as exhilarating if there wasn’t a small voice screaming, “What if it doesn’t work out?” Although this voice has a tenaciously fierce quality, it doesn’t seem to stop humanity from moving forward. In fact, that tiny voice of doubt often has the opposite effect and propels us further— the higher the risk the greater the return.

As we face 2017, our body’s fight-or-flight instincts are reduced to one option: fight. America cannot run from the growing gap, racial disparities, poverty, or sexism. The world is not divided into “winners” and “losers”. Success is not defined by money or titles gained.

We have to harness our adrenaline, our fear that things are not going to improve, to fight back. Open minds, filled with incorruptible knowledge and decency, have the power to heal, and work past, any disappointment.

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