I fall in the camp of people who believe that 2016 was a pretty shotty year overall. A lot of world leaders and famous movers and shakers passed away. The mainstream media has brought to light (however biasedly) turmoil and conflicts like the militarization of police, racial issues with #blacklivesmatter, the Syrian conflict and Aleppo, brexit, and the toupee that tweets (Trump).
It was also a hard year in Mali.
- The hot season was the hottest in many years leading to many more deaths of the elderly and children
- Preparations for a french conference led to the destruction of hundreds of small roadside shops and businesses, destroying people’s livelihoods
- The cost of living is ever increasing with no new educational or economic opporunities for people to provide for themselves
2016 was hard on me personally too.
- Work was a very difficult environment
- Socially my friend group shifted in some unexpected ways that left me with a lot of self doubt
- I discovered a version of militant feminism within myself that I didn’t know existed inside of me
- A lot of my women friends had very uncomfortable gender based harassment issues
But there were some highlights too
- Mali had fewer terrorist attacks in Bamako and in southern Mali (thank whatever dirty you give credence to!)
- I was given the go ahead on some exciting new professional opportunities
- I have been defining what is important to me both in terms of my personal goals and the people/relationships I surround myself with
- I have been given the support of my friends and family on some pretty formative personal development
So, while I don’t typically buy into the new year, new slate, new world mentality of New Years, I am excited to see what happens in 2017. It’s an interesting time for the world – interesting in both positive and negative ways. There is potential for great risk but also potential for great reward. I am going to try and maximize in that potential for good. It’s all I can do and I hope that this drop in the bucket can cause a ripple that is at least somewhat worthwhile.