Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Saddam will blink, and North Korea will back down. Maybe the Palestinians and Israelis will reach out to each other without bombs strapped to their chests, without guns and tanks and a fierce desire to wipe each other out. Maybe in my country children will no longer be victimized by predators, and in another country women won't be executed because they were raped.
Maybe the world will value justice and peace over greed and war.
And maybe next Christmas Santa will bring me a pony.
New Year's Eve is usually a time for reflecting on the year that's passing. This time around I can't help wondering where (or if) we'll all be a year from now. I don't trust the judgment or motivation of most of the people who hold the fate of the world in their hands. In spite of them, though, I'm hopeful.
I'm hopeful now because I've lived through years that began in despair. Somehow the world survived 1969, and 1974. We got through 1991, and we've made it (almost, fingers crossed) through 2002. If we can do that, we can find a way to keep going for another year.
It'll take some work, though. We need to seek out the shady corners and shine a light on the foul deeds going on there. We need to face down those who would steal our freedom in the name of fear. We need to see each other — really see each other — and remember that we share this shrinking planet, that others have the same claim to it we have, and that future generations depend on us.
None of us can save the world alone. All of us can do it together, and each of us can do something about the part of it that we touch. I personally plan to keep my part a little cleaner, now that I have a working vacuum. That's about it.
No, seriously. There are lots of things I can do, the same things I promise myself every year. Manage my time more efficiently. Eat better, get more exercise. Don't panic when things go wrong. Reach out to people more. Keep the weeds down.
Whatever I promise myself, the most valuable thing I can do is just keep plugging along, doing the best I can. Get up every morning and try to be mindful of what I'm doing. Don't let the occasional demon discourage me. Pick myself up when I fall. Smile, even if I have to fake it. Put myself in a position to smile without having to fake it. Keep plugging along, doing the best I can. Every day.
Every day is a new chance to be the person I want to be, and it doesn't have to be the dawn of a new year.