This year is ending and everyone I know agrees that is has been a shitty year. Maybe someone had a healthy baby or someone found the love of their life or someone else was healed of a crippling disease. Good things happened, no doubt. But mostly – at least among white cisgendered heterosexual Americans who have an ounce of awareness of those who aren’t – 2016 could really just go to hell and stay there. Those of us in our 50s watched our childhood icons drop like the possum on New Year’s Eve. The soundtracks of our youth screetched like a needle across vinyl. Which is what we had back before it was hip. Trust in the scientific method melted faster than the artic ice. The last remnants of democracy clogged the lead-lined pipes of our economy and what backed up in our streets stank to high heaven. Jews for whom the Holocaust was history felt a rumbling in their cells like a not-so-distant train. Men loving other men, holding hands on the street, glimpsed over their shoulders to see their new-found freedom slip down a side alley. Black neighbors looked at me dead-on and didn’t have to say, “Really? You’re surprised?”
And so on. We know. Or if you don’t know, a few more sentences from me won’t help.
And yet, here we are. We get out of bed, if we’re able. We eat and we work, if we’re lucky. We make love, if we’re luckier. There is much wringing of hands; speculation as fat and skittish as squirrels before a hard frost.
What now, we wonder?
I say: love harder.
That’s all I’ve got.
Love it all. Our friends and family, of course. The dissolving glaciers and streets that need paving. The neighbors we’ve never spoken to and the coral we forgot to visit before it died. The idiotic driver lingering in the left lane and the sullen teen beneath the chartreuse hair. The old man who complains about taxes before every City Council meeting and the woman who leaves her dog’s poop on your lawn. Love it all. Ourselves, too. No matter what.
Tonight, crawl under the covers and remember. Everything you saw today. Love it all.
Tomorrow, before the cold reality of floor alarms your feet, remember again. And love harder.