Tuesday, December 30, 2014

This Is The Year That Was - 2014

There is one more day left in 2014. The old cliché oft used is, "It's later than it's ever been." The day after tomorrow we'll begin a brand new year, 2015. Life for most people will simply be a continuation of 2014 and previous years. However, some people will approach the new year with, "Today is the first day of the rest of my life." I need to use every minute, every hour and every day to it's fullest because it is priceless.

How are you looking at the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015? Was 2014 a great year, a good year, an okay year, a crummy year or a really bad year for you? Why did your evaluation of the year that was garner the descriptor you chose? What do you plan to do to make 2015 a better year and, perhaps, the best year of your life?

The Negative Forces

Allow me to make a broad statement. For all the beauty, promise and opportunity the world provides, the world is a very negative place. We have choices to make everyday about whether our lives and circumstances will be part of the negative or, depending on our attitude, whether we'll be a bright light shining out through all the negative.

Individually, there is little we can do about changing or alleviating the negative forces in our world. Some of the negative is simply natural forces we can't do much about. Other negative is human inspired and created. There's not much we can do about most of the natural events. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, massive weather event, etc. are going to happen regardless of what we do or think we can do. Now, you might expect that I'd say that we can do something about human caused events, however, I don't believe we can really have much impact in these matters either.

Some of the negative events of last year included several airliner disasters. One disaster involves the disappearance of an airliner full of people. Nothing has been found of the plane or the people, so we don't have a clue what caused it. A second airliner was shot down by, supposedly, rogue rebels in the Ukraine or the Russians supporting them. The third just happened and while the airliner has been found in a shallow watery grave, there are no survivors and the speculation (to be investigated and proven) is that weather was the culprit in this event.

Then there are negative events that are specifically caused by humans. The beheading of several American citizens as well as others from different countries by radical Islamists is a prominent negative and downright evil act. The rape, mutilation, torture and massacres of thousands of men, women and children because of their religious beliefs, desire for a better life and quest for the freedom to live their lives as they chose. Then there was the rioting, looting and burning of their own hometown by people protesting the shooting death of a young black man who made the wrong choice of challenging the voice of law and reason. This was followed by the senseless execution of two policemen innocently eating lunch in their patrol car. This list goes on and on.

Passing Judgment . . . or Not

It's not my position to pass judgment on any of these events or the perpetrators whether Mother Nature or humans. My point is simply that these event have occurred and will continue to occur in the future. I'd like to inform you that 2015 will not bear witness to any of these kinds of events, but I can't. Negative, and if you prefer to call it "evil," exists. These are the challenges humans have faced and dealt with since the first man and woman began this entire human species thing.

I have friends that span the entire political spectrum. The same is true of the religious spectrum. The way I see it, they are all right and they are all wrong. There are the gun rights advocates and the anti-gun advocates. The Pro-Life and Pro-Choice people continue to lock horns. There are the haves and have nots going head to head. There are also the urban dwellers (because of their numbers and dense population centers) pontificating over the rural population. And, of course, let's not forget the divisions between the various races and nationalities, the men and the women and those who have chosen to live alternative sexual preference lifestyles. Everyone believes he or she is right and everyone who doesn't believe the way he or she does is wrong.

This has been going on since the beginning of human time on this planet. What bothers me is what would happen if we all simply minded our own business. Just suppose we didn't pass judgment on anyone else but ourselves. What would happen if we put all the time, energy and resources we expend on all this folly of negativity into living each moment like it was the only moment we had left on Earth? For one thing, we probably wouldn't need to continue creating the ever more horrendous weapons of mass destruction (from automatic weapons to "death rays") we've created since the beginning of time.

The Pipe Dream

Unfortunately, the very idea that humans would or could ever focus on positive, beauty and love rather than negative, evil and hatred is a pipe dream. We are animals and our lizard minds still function as they always have. Sure, we've become somewhat civilized, created societies and have tempered some parts of our animal instincts. But, I fear that for all the talk of love, reason, rationality and compassion, the emotions of jealousy, envy, greed, evil, hate and power over others are still stronger. It seems that it doesn't take much to trigger these negative emotions. The people we say we love, often become the targets of our anger, jealousy, envy and even greed.

All of these traits are manifest in a variety of ways. It might be the overt actions of a serial thief, rapist, murderer or con artist. It might be the corporate ladder climber who doesn't care who he or she steps on and pushes behind them, even their best friends or relatives, to gain the rewards, the corner office and the ultimate power. It is just as evident in social endeavors including sports, social clubs and groups and family units. It, unfortunately, is human nature. It is who we are.

The pipe dream is that any of us believe we can overcome this negative aspect of our human nature. And, of course, most of us are not as bad as the few who make themselves so prominent throughout society. I often ask myself why does someone want to be the president of the United States or the leader of any other country in the world. It certainly can't be for the money since there are many ways to earn considerably more than that job pays. But, it has to be pretty heady stuff to think that, as in the case of the president of the U.S., you are the most powerful person in the world. WOW! With the stroke of a pen you can decide and change the fate and lives of hundreds of millions and possibly billions of people around the world. I hope anyone reading this article doesn't think any of these people actually are doing it because they have our best interests in mind and heart. That's just the cover story to get our votes.

2015 - The Beginning

So, the day after tomorrow, is the beginning all over again. Of course, everyday when you awaken is the beginning all over again. We don't need to make New Years Resolutions to lose weight, improve our education, achieve new heights of performance at our occupation, spend more time with our families, be a better person or anything else. The new year, 2015, is going to be exactly the same as 2014, 2013, 1999, 1960 or any other year. Only we make it different.

We can make the difference by changing out attitudes. We can strive to control and put our own issues with greed, hatred, jealously, negativity and so on behind us. It's never easy because we are all human. Do little things. Last year I decided as I travel the U.S. that I'm going to do my best to make at least 12 people smile everyday. There are some days I don't come in contact with 12 people, so I try to make it up on another day. I listen to too much news - NEGATIVITY! I'm going to curb my self-flagellation and attempt to focus more on the beauty of the people and world around me. I still have a tendency to allow my temper to slip while I'm by myself in the van and something doesn't work the way I want it to or something breaks, runs out of battery power, becomes disconnected, I make a wrong turn because Google Maps became mixed up and . . . well, I'll let a stream of "blue" expletives fly. They are often caught on the audio track of my dash cam and I'm embarrassed that one day someone might hear that. I can fix that problem IF I choose to.

So, how about you? Is 2015 going to just be another year like the rest or will you change it? How many people can you make smile everyday? How much love and compassion can you share with others. How many people can you be a positive force for in their lives when they are going through some serious trials and dealing with negative times.

I wish you a Happy, Healthy, Abundant and Positive 2015. 

1 comment:

Rob said...

2015 = Social Security