Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good Time For A Cleansing


It's tough to really call any year forgettable. Even in the worst of times -- when all the news is bad, and every time you see a newspaper or television you feel like screaming in frustration -- there are still moments that make you laugh, and maybe even feel hopeful.

Still, there's no denying that 2011 has been a tough year. Natural disasters. Political violence. Stupid politicians spouting a never ending stream of hateful nonsense. Dumb movies. An economy that many people feel is about to blow up like a faulty M-80. And general societal irritability and uncertainty that makes it seem like the wheels are about to fall off -- of everything.

Thankfully, it's 2012 now, and it's time to forget all that. Right?

Not really. The Gregorian calendar doesn't mean a damn thing to a subsistence farmer in the most primitive reaches of Papua New Guinea. Hell, they don't even have the iPad 2 there yet. And so tonight, when all the champagne corks are popping, and amateur drunks are committing more faux pas then there are stars in the sky, nothing meaningful will change.

However, New Year's can be a time to let go of bad things, to let them float away from the front of our minds to a comfortably insulated part somewhere in the back brain area. Let me be clear about this: I don't mean forgetting all the bad stuff that happened last year by sweeping it under the rug and pretending it wasn't real. Flipping the calendar page doesn't change anything. But it does give us a chance, as humans, to compartmentalize the past and move on. And that can be a valuable thing. A cleansing thing.

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