Year of beginnings needs to ripen

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Last column of the year! And on the last day of the year, no less. I feel like I should write a list of the best things that happened this year. Maybe an insightful reflective piece, or a moving manifesto for 2016. I think I’ll skip all that, though. Aside from the fact the Internet is already too full of them, it all seems a bit premature to me.

Maybe you can chalk it up to my immoderate consumption of spiked eggnog over the past week, but I’m finding it hard to make the resulting trickle of brain activity pool into an opinion on anything. Perhaps I’m just mentally lazy these days, or trying to avoid the pressure of summing up a whole year, but I don’t think now is a time to draw conclusions about anything from the past twelve months.

The thing is this: 2015 was a year of beginnings. In the city; if I can be so bold, in the world; and even in my own life. We can’t really reflect on it because it’s not in the rearview mirror yet. I do like beginnings because they’re promising and exciting, so I can’t complain too much about them, but they’re also uncertain.

And that makes them a bit of a tightrope to judge when you’re publishing your opinions. Lean too far one way, and you’re not giving it time to work out happily ever after. Lean too far the other, and you’re standing idle while it all goes off the rails. Stand in the middle, and that sure ain’t much of an opinion column.

Locally, we saw a good deal of planning and approving—official city plans, strategic plans, public transportation, economic development, the list goes on—and only a much shorter list of things that have even begun to be executed, much less to turn out. It was just that kind of year.

Nationally, we got a new government, but it only sat in Parliament for a handful of days, so there’s really nothing to report there. Globally, a number of social justice issues hit our collective consciousness with a bang. As a group, we re-oriented ourselves on equality, environmentalism, gun policy, and more. But realistically none of that has gone far enough to see measurable results yet.

It’s not the time for conclusions yet, and I’m going to resist the temptation to add to the listicles upon listicles that have been dropped all over the Internet anyway. Instead, I’ll keep quietly celebrating promising starts while maintaining a watchful eye and careful footing on the way to progress. It sometimes wins me an undeserved reputation as a pessimist, but I think that criticism is an act of optimism. It’d be silly to spend the time on anything I don’t think can and should become greater.

That’s why there’s a great deal I’m looking forward to in 2016. I’m excited to see a Liberal government and Conservative opposition in action. I can’t wait for London to get rolling on its new public transportation. Selena Gomez is playing Bud Gardens. I’m gonna learn to make pasta.

I reserve my right to remain more a critic than a cheerleader, but I’m hopeful about what’s underway as the year closes. Somebody please remind me in 2020 to write an intensely meaningful reflective piece on what happened in 2015.

Originally published December 31, 2015 in Our London.


Amanda Stratton

Wanderer. Nerd. Writer. Human.

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