The end of the year causes everyone to reflect on their lives. It seems inevitable that we go down memory-lane and look back at how we have led our lives this past year, what we did and did not accomplish, and so on. This reflection period becomes a tradition as we simultaneously look on to the future.
It has already been said, but 2016 has been a difficult year for humanity. We have experienced tremendous suffering as a species; we have lost countless loved ones, and wars continue wreaking havoc on good and ordinary people. Many of our idols have passed, and the majority of humanity looks on to the end of the year with exhaustion and anticipation. There’s a lot of concern for the future. But it would be ignorant to say that this is the year of suffering—solely because “developed” countries are now feeling the burden. The sad reality is that much of the world has always been suffering. Wars have been waged in the Middle East for years. Civilians have been dying there on the daily. Some African countries continue caring the burden of a western world that has decimated their land and corrupted their governments. Environmental refugees flee homes as tides rise and forests burn. In our borders, millions live in fear, poverty, and disenfranchisement. We have become a society—humans throughout the world—that regardless of our internet capabilities we have lost a connection to one-another. We have become consumed by fear of each other. We look to our neighbors with suspicion, and we are weary of all who don’t look like us.
As time passes, our society is forced to confront our prejudices and our dirty laundry. We’re forced to view the world for what it is: damaged and in pain. And powerful people use our fear of the future to further control us. We are blinded by their rhetoric and their hate speech. Ultimately they’ve succeeded in turning us all against each other; because that’s their goal. If we are at war with our own humanity, a small few makes a profit.
I am looking to 2017 with uncertainty. I don’t know what the world will look like. In many ways I imagine it will continue to look much like it has done in the past. No matter what promises were made in 2016, I have doubts many will come to fruition. Our people won’t find peace until we unify. There are no Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, or Independents. There are people. And these people are in pain because they have been forgotten and because they live in fear of persecution, of poverty, and of violence. But we are all more alike than different. Taking two people together, they are genetically 99.99% the same. Only the exterior differs. And that’s the important thing we must take into 2017. We must judge not by what’s outside, on the surface, but what’s beneath. What we will find is that underneath the skin and the clothes, we all look for the same future. All we crave is happiness.
I don’t know if this matters to many, but I’ve decided I’m going to tell these stories. I want to use 2017 as an opportunity to show people just how similar they really are. Currencies will fade. Our flesh will sag and eventually we shall all die. It’s the fate of all living things. Let’s not get consumed by the illusions of modern society. Beyond the luxuries and material, all we are seeking is love and acceptance. All most humans crave is a life devoid of suffering, and a life finally at peace.