The consensus seems to be that 2017 was a terrible year for the world. Certainly more than a few terrible things happened, but in the spirit of looking on the bright side of life (thanks Eric Idle), here’s some of the good I chanced upon last year:
In January, Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America. I didn't watch the ceremony, and that day I packed away the dress I had bought (months too early) for the inauguration ball. But the day after, I rode the subway up to midtown Manhattan alongside hordes of protestors clad in pink pussy hats and carrying homemade signs. I'd brought signs of my own, and though I'd expected to feel silly waving them around in a modicum of protest, instead I felt a surge of solidarity and energy, along with a sudden sense of purpose ("this is what democracy looks like.")
February, March, and April were somewhat bleak months. News of the travel ban rolled out, Trump continued to preen, and all the while I was getting ready for the big move. My last few months in the city were a blur of work, friends, and visits to old haunts. But despite my mounting nostalgia, the beginning of a new chapter is always a hopeful time, and the sense of possibility was buoying.
I spent the summer traveling through 9 different countries. It was a summer of new experiences—I trekked through Sa Pa in flip flops, scuba dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and rode in a hot air balloon. On Fraser Island, I learnt that away from our pollutions, the moon can be brighter than a spotlight, that the sky can hold a seemingly impossible amount of stars, and that when seen from the Southern Hemisphere, the Big Dipper appears upside down. I’d been taught that our discovery of flight had made the world small. It was heartening to stumble upon the truth.
In the fall I moved to London to start a postgrad in public policy. To pay for the copious amounts of coffee required to sustain life as a graduate student, I wrangled a job at a Lilliputian second-hand bookstore. Spending every Friday surrounded by old books hasn’t been great for my already lengthy reading list, but is worthwhile if only for the quiet joy and contentment it's inspired.
Here's to hoping that 2018 brings more joy and wonder to us all. Happy New Year 🎉