We have very nearly survived 2017. If that’s not a reason to raise a glass of champagne and celebrate, I don’t know what is. As you know, this year has been one of struggle for me, but I’m feeling surprisingly good right now.
I can give you the answer in five words—outrage, action, connection, joy, and vision.
But since I’m a writer, I think I’ll give you the answer in a lot more words! Here is my five-word recap of 2017:
OUTRAGE—Perhaps no explanation is necessary. If you pay attention to the news, every day there is an outrageous affront on human decency or American democracy. But what I am talking about is turning outrage into fuel for action. I’m grateful for my outrage because it propels the work I must do to make the world a better place.
ACTION—I am grateful that I have learned to participate in our democracy. I can make phone calls. I can be informed. I can understand how the system works and which of its flaws require attention. This year, some friends and I started a political action committee dedicated to getting progressive representation for our district. It’s concrete work that I am proud of.
CONNECTION—Through my activism, I have connected with an amazing group of smart, dedicated progressive thinkers who want an American system that works for all of us. They make being an activist fun (most of the time) and keep me going when my spirits flag. Also, I’ve found a new, more genuine way to connect with each of you, and you have sustained me with your empathy, your kindness, and your heart.
JOY—This year I had to actively seek joy. I wasn’t just looking around and hoping it would show up. I worked to make joy happen. I’m not going to go so far as to say that there’s been an abundance of joy, but there has been some, including my cupcakes posse, long hikes with my dog, the satisfaction of helping a young mom and her daughter from becoming homeless, getting to read Kiersi Burkhart’s newest book before anyone else in the world, writing a new novel full of elements that delight me, and my epic 6,152 mile road trip with my teenagers. All good things!
VISION—2017 has been a year of fighting bad guys, but when the bad guys are vanquished, what next? Well, that’s where vision comes in. Here’s the future I want: basic income for all, excellent schools for all, universal healthcare for all, safe housing for all, reproductive freedom for all, sensible gun reform for all, clean air and water for all, honest government for all people (not corporations), and just for the hell of it, let’s throw in the end of rape culture and the dismantling of racism in America.
So… here we are… heading into 2018. These five words, for which I fought tooth and nail this year, are going to be my guideposts moving forward.
Tell me, what are your words?