It’s no surprise that as the end of the year rolls around we all start reflecting on the last 12 months before starting another trip around the sun. I think it’s fair to say that 2016 has been a roller coaster, and for many, with more lows than highs.
I feel particularly conflicted as I look back on the year that’s been, as I compare my personal life with my thoughts on a global scale.
For me, in my own little bubble in my corner of the world, this year has had the biggest highlight of my life: having a baby. It has been an eye opening, humbling but utterly joyful experience. I was worried that having a child would make me lose some of my identity and I would become just “mummy” rather than the person I have been thus far. I really feel, however, that in the last 6 months I have become even more myself, and have a stronger sense of my own identity as I spend my days with this tiny human. I know I want to be the best version of myself to act as his role model and so he inspires me to take care of myself, both mentally and physically. I feel grounded when I’m with him.
And yet. I watch the news. I read comments online from hateful people. I look at the events of the past 12 months and feel scared about the future. I’m reminded of our own mortality with every notable death that gets reported. I feel anxious about the decisions made around the world that I have no say in but are likely to affect me. So I think “what can I do about it?” And most of the time I feel pretty useless.
So here lies the conflict. To be so content on a small scale and so anxious about the state of the world. How can these two states coexist?
And here is my conclusion as we come to the end of 2016. All any of us can do is try to leave this place in a better state than we found it. I now think this means teaching our children the values that we know are out there but we can’t always see. Compassion. Honesty. Empathy. Sustainability. And to teach them these things we have to model them everyday.
In doing that, and remembering that I am raising a tiny human who could go on to have a big impact on his world, I must try to remember that I am doing something. I am no longer a passive bystander when we talk about the future, I am a stakeholder.