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I’m that awful type of person who loves to make New Year’s Resolutions. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I like the idea that after a week or two of winter vacation and clearing my head (read: clearing my head of brain cells with egg nog and champagne) I can step back into the real world with some goals to pursue.
Having goals is revitalizing, even though about halfway through February I know I’ll stop working out three times a week and start eating fast food again, but that’s beside the point. It’s really the feeling of a fresh start that makes your goals feel attainable, and no one needs a fresh start more than America after being dragged through the cesspool that was 2016.
New Year’s Resolutions aren’t just about improving yourself by doing something new. They are also about making sure you don’t repeat your mistakes. I, for one, am optimistic for the first time in a long time.
I think there are a few New Year’s Resolutions the entire country should consider to prevent another 2016.
1. Calm Down About Other People’s Opinions
This year we learned a big lesson. Apparently if you shame normal, everyday people for having a different opinion from yours and tell them they’re bad people for eight years, eventually they’ll get sick of it. Who would have thought?
Now, when I talk about different opinions, I’m talking about the benign sociopolitical opinions that people overreact to. I’m NOT talking about the radical opinions of hate groups that endorse violence. If you so much as question what I like to call the “social justice flavor of the month,” you are shamed by a swarm of true believers, even if you don’t care much about the issue in the first place. I chalk that up to complete intolerance of valid opinions. You know how far that gets you if you want to actually further your cause? Nowhere. If you feel so threatened by someone else’s opinion that you have to shame them for it, maybe it’s not THEIR opinion that’s the problem.
It’s time to calm down, depolarize, and not attack people over their opinions. No one will take you seriously. I’m a complete opinionated boar, but I’d never tell anyone to keep their opinion to themselves because they disagree with me. Believe what you want to believe. If my explanation of my beliefs doesn’t convince you, guess what — you can still believe what you want and I won’t hold it against you. That’s the way America needs to improve itself next year. Most people just want to live their lives. Very few people actually want to be some kind of martyr for some alleged “social justice” cause. If someone disagrees with you, leave them be. We’ll all get along much better, and to be honest, outside the ballot box, our opinions don’t really matter all that much.
2. Turn Off the News
The quality of American journalism has slowly and painfully circled the drain since long before the Great Depression. A disingenuous, biased press is nothing new. Hemingway’s third wife, Martha Gellhorn, was the daughter of a suffragette and openly admitted that she didn’t mind lying in an article if it served the purpose of her politics. FAKE NEWS. However, combine the lack of journalistic integrity with the 24-hour news cycle as well as one of the most brutal election years in recent memory and you have a perpetually active, suicide-inducing Pravda.
Jazz great Arturo Sandoval told his audience just the other day to turn off the news because it’s all negative, and that he wanted to start the GNC (Good News Channel). A half-jest, of course, but we do, as a country, need to turn off the news. The 24-hour news cycle brings you the worst of humanity, well, 24 hours a day. Personally, I’ve found it to be the most exhausting thing about 2016 on BOTH sides of the aisle.
3. Don’t Sweat the Things You Can’t Change
This is the biggest one for me. The year 2016 has been brutal, but what’s made it worse is that it has made us all realize how powerless we really are. Over half of the primary voters felt powerless as the two worst possible candidates emerged into the general election. We all felt powerless as beloved celebrities were taken from us one by one. We all felt powerless as terrorists attacked innocents in the United States, France, Germany, and other civilized countries around the world. We Americans should not allow ourselves to fall into a pit of despair in 2017. We shouldn’t focus on what we can’t control. Focus on what you can control — your own actions. The less you worry about what you can’t control and the more you focus on what you can control, which is the way you navigate through any shit storm you may encounter, the feeling of control over your own life will trump, pun intended, anything 2017 throws at you.
Have a safe and fun New Year’s Eve and I wish the best to you all in the 2017. Make it a great one..
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