As yet another year draws to a close, I find my reaction to 2016 summing itself up in three letters: WTF? Yes, I have a tendency to wish my life away at times and I’m working on valuing every day as it comes, but this is one year that I’ll be glad to see the back of. I’d been warned by some mystic or other that it would be a bad year for men – in that a lot of them would die. And they weren’t wrong there. I can’t speak for the figures but the number of famous lads who popped off the face of the Earth this year is a little staggering – Prince, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Leonard Cohen …. and the latest only the other day – Rick Parfitt. And we still have a week to go. Am glad I’m not male and famous.
It was a year of crazy decisions that will have consequences for years to come. Voters went a little mad methinks, revolting in their way against what they saw as the status quo. And while it would be a boring world indeed if we all agreed on everything, the foundations have been laid on which the future will be built – and right now, I can’t say I have a lot of faith in tomorrow.
Man’s inhumanity to man seems to know no bounds. Wars and atrocities continue unabated in Syria, Yemen, Israel, Palestine, the Philippines…. the value of human life seems to be spiraling downwards. Christmas shoppers in Berlin, concert-goers in Paris, a man in his 60s getting out of his car in Dublin – the last-day lottery. Personal safety is becoming thing of the past.
Homeless figures in Dublin are staggering. As they are in many other cities around the world. And this while buildings stand empty in the clutches of the receivers. If I had one wish for Christmas it would be that we’d have less of ‘We can’t do it because….’ and more of ‘We can do it, if….’ That would be some present for the world.
And speaking of presents, I got an amazing one this year from a very dear friend in California – a simple handmade paper star bearing the word, restoration. Naturally, there’s a story behind it, but there’s one ahead of it, too. This is the word that will guide me in 2017, a word that has already taken root inside me.
While the world was losing its marbles this year, my little world was tripping along rather nicely, thank you very much. It did a minor 180 degree spin with life taking on a momentum of its own. Quick decisions were made, the kind that have lasting consequences. I seem to have accumulated more material trappings (a house, a car, a hula hoop). And while I had thought I wanted travel and freedom and the excitement of never knowing where to next month, I find myself craving the countryside, the quiet, the calm.
For the first time in living memory, I can think of somewhere I’d rather be this Christmas. The rather is marginal, mind you, but it’s there. I find myself reevaluating what I mean by home and where it is. Nancy Reagan said once that homes are really no more than the people who live in them. And while it’s really great to be back in Ireland, I’m looking forward to going home soon. Yes, it’s a home-in-the-making, but it’s one I’m extremely grateful for. Who’d have thunk it, eh? Could I be growing up?
Nollaig shona agus athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh go léir.