Tuesday, January 3, 2012

An optimistic future

There is something so arbitrary about New Year's Day. The new year could be celebrated on any day, really. Who is to say that the new year should start on the first of January? What if the first of January was two weeks from now? Or two months?

Yet, there is something so defining about New Year's Day. Somehow, mentally, we are cleansed of the burdens of the past year, and we look, almost always optimistically, to the future. And it seems to make sense. Why would so many people be so happy that it is the new year? The new year represents, in a way, a clean slate--days of new adventures, days of new beginnings, days of new changes.

The changes that are needed in our individual and collective lives are not arbitrary, but are rather deliberate, intentional, and essential, and they need to be happening now. One thing that is particularly true, especially for the younger generations alive today, is that major changes will be seen in our lives. Now, it is up to us to decide whether we will continue to be passive and have those choices and changes made for us, or whether we find leadership in ourselves, and actively shape a future of justice and minimal ecological impact.

One of the great things of today's time is that the cracks of this culture are clearly visible more than ever before--the ongoing debt crises in Europe and the US, the mortgage debacle, the increasing gap between the rich and poor, the increasing corporatism of government, the ever increasing greenhouse gas emissions. If one pays even cursory attention to the political debates surrounding these issues, one can see quite clearly that all that is being done is that the stone of the problem is being kicked down the road.

Therefore, it is easy to conclude that the optimistic future we celebrate is one that involves major changes. This is an incredibly positive thing.

What was your New Year's resolution?

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