‘It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.’ Charles Darwin

We live in interesting times, some see it as a blessing, others as a curse. Either way it just is.

2016 has been quite the year, to say the least, personally, locally, nationally and internationally. I cant say I’d be surprised to hear of an intergalactic uprising currently in a galaxy far, far away. Beam me up Scotty I think we’re in for a bumpy ride.

And yet, I’m not frightened or apprehensive of what 2017 will bring, not because I’ve confined myself to binging daily on Disney and Musical theatre over the holidays (although I have) but because I choose not to be frightened by those that derive pleasure, power and control from promoting it. Our very survival relies on us paying more attention to that which might cause us harm than do us good, but the truth is, few of us living the lives we do today need to fight for our existence on a daily basis, instead we should be fighting to retain ourselves, our freedoms, our compassion. Our humanity. We should be fighting for truth.

I don’t think its a coincidence that Marvel and DC have seen a massive revival in recent times, themes of darkness and light, inner conflict and justice over injustice seem even more relevant in a time when we struggle to demonstrate to our children the value of truth and integrity in a world so apparently lacking in it. But was it really any different before? perhaps the villains now are more theatrical than those of the past, they have a reality style presence not seen before, but are they worse? Whilst we get caught up with the Barnum and Baily smoke and mirrors of the media have we really stopped seeing what really is in front of us. Ourselves.

So as we walk forward into 2017, we can own our words, we can own our actions and we can make a difference. We alone choose the values by which we live by. Not the Politician’s, the celebrities or social media, we are responsible for what we do, what we say, how we behave. I have seen and heard so much discussion recently which seems to only disempower those already with fragile senses of self. January can be a missed opportunity for many as it becomes a month bearing nothing but guilt (for December indulgence), failure (for not sticking to your resolutions beyond January 3rd), self loathing (because you don’t look like any airbrushed celebrity you care to name) or fear as the year ahead seems to stretch on without hope. Debt for many will be out of control as people succumbed to pressures they could have best done without in the hope that purchase power would create a sense of some personal power. So perhaps for January set yourself different goals, define yourself by different rules. Remove everything you can that makes you feel less empowered, the social media updates, the profiles, the emails that sell you more of a life you don’t actually want. Find the things that make you feel better about yourself, that make you kinder to yourself. This is not about losing touch with real issues going on around us but remembering that we are not as helpless as some would have us believe. There are a great many reasons to reflect back over this year with a heavy heart, many of us have lost loved ones, many have struggled with ongoing health issues but there are also many reasons to look back and see the good that surrounds us.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” 
 Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Be Kind. Have courage.

Personally I’m not that keen on the alternative, just keep putting one step in front of the other even if your not sure of the path. I wish you peace and adventures in 2017.

Suzy Gibbons-Mitchell