2017… a fresh start? It’s all in our mind. Just like blaming 2016 – a collection of 366 days – for all our problems.
Towards the end of the year, I started seeing articles and posts bashing 2016, promoting a collection of days to our latest evil nemesis. “Take that 2016!” as if ripping the calendar from the wall would slay the 366-headed beast.
The biggest shift in our lives over the next twelve months will not be hanging up a new calendar, but changing our perspective, our thoughts and words. Here are five reasons why we need to stop blaming 2016 for all our problems.
1. You Thought 2016 Was Bad?
If you are upset about Trump or Brexit, I have some bad news. They haven’t actually happened yet. There is only one way to make 2017 a better year, and that is to change our mindset.
2. Celebrity Deaths Will Continue
This year has also been filled with the passing of many icons. Sadness and heartbreak. Towards the end of the year, it became so relentless that people nervously clicked on every trending name on Facebook expecting to read of their passing.
2017 will be no different. In fact, even more amazing people will leave us. Why?
The Birth of Mass Media and Link To Increasing Celebrity Deaths
I have a theory – let’s call it “Mass Media Celebrity Death” or MMCD to see if it catches on – that we are reaching a unique time in history. A time linked to the birth of mass media, starting with the TV in the 1950s. Fast forwarding 67 years means more people’s lives have been documented publically than ever before. Many of those lives are now reaching their final days. A few hundred years ago, news of famous people’s death was limited to Kings and Queens, along with the occasional prestigious scientist and author. With the advent of the Internet and our new information overload era, many more people are ‘famous’, including the people who are famous for just being, er, famous.
3. There Is A Why Reason Celebrity Deaths Are Reported
They are remembered because of their passion and the gifts they have left us all (maybe with the exception of those made famous in the Big Brother household). Music, art, kindness, philanthropy, inspiration through their life’s passion, causes and actions. There is one bigger gift that they have left
There is one bigger gift that they have left us however – their final passing gift – the timely reminder and re-connection with an inner knowing that if you are reading this, you are gifted with life. You still have breath. You still have time to make your life stand for something. We all still have time to discover what our contribution should be during our remaining journey, in our unnumbered days, in this incredible journey we have ahead of us.
4. 2016 Was A Reflection Of How We Choose to Live
The mirror doesn’t lie. Many of the major issues we are seeing are a caricatured reflection of the way we individually live our lives each day. From massive debt to climate change, from the destroying of our food system to the destruction of fresh water, from increasing health issues to lack of resources, from shoot ’em up gaming to social media addiction. The problems we see are the by-product of the way we live as a human race, not just today but over the last 30 years. We get to vote each day for the world we want to live in, not at the ballot box, but with our words and actions. Blaming 2016, is just another bad choice of words. I have this really strong sense that it is time for us to all start to take personal responsibility for everything that comes out of us – starting with our thoughts and ending with our reactions.
5. 2016 Was A Tipping Point, Which Means…
Things are likely to ramp even more in 2017. Check out any exponential graph. It only goes one way from here.
On Boxing Day I witnessed something I had never seen before. People queuing outside shops in our local shopping centre. It wasn’t for rations but for video games and brand name clothing. The shops had assistants at the doors, like bouncers, occasionally letting shoppers enter two-by-two into the consumerist Noah’s Ark.
Never have we lived with such apparent abundance. Never have our lives felt more empty.
Never have we felt more entitled. Never have we been more lost and more disconnected with the real purpose of our life.
We live in extreme times. Major world events, an acceleration of technology, a thirst for more wealth and greater consumption. Continued debates on climate change, extreme economics, deepening denial. If we tried to capture the year with a camera, all we might see is a blur.
Mark’s Take-Away: A More Positive Step Forward
2016, you were just a collection of 366 days, in the same ways your own age signifies another collection of days. I refuse to blame a calendar year for heartbreak, dismissing it into history’s waste basket, a time that can’t end soon enough. 2016 was a year in our lives. A year we will never get back. Tomorrow is as important as today is and yesterday was.
The mystery of life that we each seek is to connect with what are we passionate about and discover what our purpose in life. We then need to discover the ultimate answer – how we can use that passion to make a difference, a real difference. How can we leave this beautiful home in a better place than we found it? How can we move and inspire people through our lives so that when we have set sail from this life, they too will feel moved to make a difference in other people’s lives?
These are the questions I shall be exploring, contemplating and meditating on. Join me (subsrcribe below) in 2017 to explore what these questions mean to you in your life . Know that your time is precious. Know that your life counts. Know that you can make a difference through your choices, thoughts and actions.
As the end of the year draws to a close, nothing closes. Only new doors open if you seek to find them, push on them gently and have the courage to cross the threshold to see what awaits you on the other side.
May your next 365 days be filled with happiness and inner peace.