In December, I ordered up a batch of award ribbons to hand out to my friends at the New Year that read, "I Survived the Dumpster Fire Called 2017." It's true. I survived it, and so did my friends & family and I am assuming, if you are reading this, so did you. Congratulations; you deserve an award, too. That ribbon goes on to conclude that, "all I got was this lousy ribbon." Which is also true. But in my case, I also got this video.
Listen, 2017 was a Dumpster Fire for a lot of us. Much of it felt bleak and confusing and uncertain. At times, on the edge of apocalyptic. For me personally, I spent the first three quarters of 2017 dabbling in periods of nihilism and hopelessness. This was true for a lot of the creative individuals I know; a feeling that the work we do is pointless in the face of the Real Challenges & the State of the World. Long stretches of stumbling around in the dark trying to find a place and means of being useful. As it turns out, obsessively reading every think piece on the issues of the day mixed with overworking and yelling at your loved ones is not particularly useful. Epically long walks on the beach with one's dog binge-listening to comedy podcasts about murder are also not useful, but they can be helpful.
And dumpster fires are only fun for so long. Time marches on. No matter what is going on, children continue to grow, dogs still need walks, birthdays are still celebrated, food is still made, music is still played, cafés still have to open and the sun still paints the sky with its crimson palette when it sets. Nihilism loses its luster and as the flames die down, a little nugget of hope and purpose emerges.
There's an old haiku by the 17th Century Japanese poet and Samurai Mizuta Masahide that I've carried around for years: "Barn's burnt down // now I can see the moon." As the smoke clears, there are treasures to be found in that dumpster, soot-covered jewels laying in the ashes and embers that are fuel for action and ready to burn fiercely, now that we can see the moon.
So, let's go, 2018. Let's go see the whole sky.