If God said “I can’t watch you do this to yourselves anymore” I wouldn’t be so surprised. I also wouldn’t blame him after everything that has happened this year. In more ways than one it felt like a bad dream or like someone was force feeding us information that we didn’t want to believe. Refusing to believe it because it would mean yet another loss of life, another loss of hope, loss of home, loss of human rights—there was truly no telling what the world would endure this time around. Looking back at 2016, I remember a younger self who day dreamed about happy scenarios, I, like any other, have imagined a brighter future filled of accomplishments and love. Days that will bring people together instead of tearing them apart. A year like this seems to only contrast that idea. With news headlines this year leaving me empty and silently in tears, I can’t help but feel my heart brace itself as I reflect on behalf of all those who lost someone, who lost hope, all the lives that have been threatened and the very evident acts of hate which took place. I couldn’t imagine less than half of it simply because my mind does not have that kind of destructive reach. For many young adults, the headlines and stories about acts of terror or large demonstrations taking place in homes other than their own, seemed to resonate or bring to attention the many different realities people face. It could be that some of us out there have always been very aware and informed of breaking news around the world and it can also be in light of the fact that one bad event after the other began to feel like enough was enough—about half way through the year, making it hard to avoid in conversation.
The Anti-Government protests which took place in South Korea calling out to Park Geun-hye reminded me of protests I witnessed in my own city after Donald Trump’s win as U.S. President. The feeling of noncompliance, strength in numbers and possibility filled both countries. Some of my closest friends set aside their heavy hearts and took to the streets alongside others as they walked to empower, to be heard here in the Bay Area. A year filled of firsts and honorable mentions. The FARC deal peace deal, signs of a healing environment and in specific, the Americas having been announced measles free brought me back to a hot and humid morning in India where volunteers gathered with the Rotary Club to ‘Keep India Polio Free’ as our hats read. Perhaps it was reminders of our smallest actions, like the hat which I still see hung in my room everyday, which kept us going in light of the challenging moments. Yet, even in those moments, that challenging shadow that followed us only grew in size. I held on, we held on. Cries for aid, refuge and basic necessities were projected out for the world to hear and as the year files out, they hope to echo.
Hand in hand, my own life and those of others seemed to witness more than could have been predicted. A dreaded good-bye and long awaited hello, my two feet reached American soil just in time to witness a wedding that I couldn’t ever had missed. Nonetheless, April brings back a scary feeling of uncertainty and disbelief about what had just happened. San Francisco could never mimic Pune, just how Pune could never mimic San Francisco. I’ve come to know both as just places. Geographical points, both owning memories the other knows nothing about and both rulers of my heart. They know a kind of peace which was surely tested as the days filled out to reach 365. My learnings held hard truths, required all my patience, I surely hesitated where I shouldn’t had, didn’t practice what I preached, I played to win, I played to lose. I’ll try not to ask myself for the same things next time. Every heavy heart I held and all the answers I didn’t know have in turn made me kinder to myself. A part of me definitely still looks back heavy hearted and confused about all that’s happened but all of that seems to fade away when I remember all the new faces this year brought into my life, all the nights that ran into daylight, the spontaneous, the ballsy, the celebrations that took place, the old faces which came home, the new places, the firsts. All of that was meant to be a part of this year just the same way all the difficult aspects and moments were too. Each serving a purpose, wether that purpose excited me or drove me crazy. It’s that balance which I see now that keeps me centered. How honest we are, how authentic our actions are, how inspired and willing we are, how kind and gentle we are, these things are as much as a part of us as the rest is. All the times we get it wrong, senseless mistakes, the things we’ve lost and will never get back, lies we spoke, moments where we lack heart, they’re the other part of the balance. Without either, there would be no center. In some small way, that’s our common humanity. In my own small way, I try to not to be too proud or ashamed of either because they’re making me the person I know and love to be. Making room for new perspectives, for growth. Acceptance and self love went a long way this time around the sun.
Just a few weeks ago I was walking down the street thinking to myself about all the ways this world needed change this year, all the ways I needed change this year. I went on and on in my head about ways of improvement for this tiny planet, on and on only to conclude with what I already knew. This world isn’t going to change in the matter of one night. My own personal growth didn’t happen in the matter of one night. The moments which impacted me the most was when I was vulnerable and the moments in which I experienced love. Be it from someone I knew, a stranger, a story or a thought—those were the moments that stick. In this same light, I look onto 2017 and cease all ideas of resolutions unless they build upon what already has been learned or experienced. The best thing a person, a year or a world can experience is that kind of love that lies at center of common humanity. The love that makes us equal and deserving of basic human rights and necessities. The love which impacts others only for the better. The love that was missing in a year that is just about to pass. The love we can give in the one to come.
Happy New Year!
This blog post was inspired by Google’s Year in Search 2016, it left me speechless and you should check it out if you haven’t already! 🙂
All my love,