aap ko nia saal mubarik ho – I learned this from a Facebook friend in Pakistan just moments before midnight there, which was 2pm here. It means Happy New Year in Urdu. I wish we would all speak to one another with messages of joy and peace…
It’s the end of 2009, the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century. I remember when 2000 seemed so unreachably far into the future, yet here we are nipping at the toes of 2010 … and it’s not where I’d hoped the world would be. I once dreamed that by now there’d be no more war, that the merciless, endless antagonism of religions would have long ended, and that humanity would be living in peace and prosperity around the globe, and possibly even in colonies in space. Instead I find us fighting in two wars, radicalism has gone berserk and mass terrorist killings no longer shock us, but they still deeply sadden us and leave us feeling helpless.
I wanted to start the new year by thinking of the good things that have happened, and by trying to put the bad behind me. With that in mind, some pleasant surprises — I sure never thought I’d see a black president of the US in office anytime soon – though 30 yrs ago, I would have thought it would have happened long before now! Same with equal rights for all – we’re still fighting that battle for all minorities; blacks, gays, atheists, and all women still battle the glass ceiling. But we had a woman and a black man competing for the nomination of a major political party. Baby steps, but still steps indeed!
The news is far more upbeat in some of the sciences – our understanding of DNA, although there’s still so much to learn, has already benefitted humankind, and promises to end much suffering. Particle physicists think that they have identified the most elementary particles that exist – those which cannot be broken down further, for all parts of the Standard Model – the theory of what everything is made of in the hope of finding a Grand Unification Theory. We’ve discovered that in this universe alone, our Milky Way Galaxy is but a speck in the vastness of space-time. We’ve SEEN evidence of dark matter, and have learned how to capture neutrinos. Environmental sciences aren’t faring as well… our relentless consumption of resources continues to wound our home, and it may end up making earth inhospitable for us if we don’t rein in our gluttony.
In the fields of communications, we’ve experienced explosions of technology beyond our wildest dreams. Iphones, wireless internet, medical information exchange, instant information is available to us anywhere, anytime. Despite the attempts of governments to control the media, to conceal protests and atrocities, the internet has given us all a way to get the word out, and to get help and support from a growing world community that DOES CARE. Communications around the world have the potential to truly bring freedom to all – already it has ended much suppression, and with time, I believe it will make the world unite far more so than it is now. We are all neighbors, and it’s much harder to fight with our neighbor than some faceless entity.
On a personal level, 2009 has been a mixed year for us. Early on, we lost a very close friend to cancer, and I lost my favorite aunt as well – losses I still think about almost every day. We’ve had a number of health issues ourselves, and yet, we’re managing to cope and move on.
The most wonderful, dazzling event of all – I became a grandmother for the first time when my daughter, Crissy, and her husband Jon had Tyler Chase on August 1. If we could all let the joy of an infant’s smile infect us with love and happiness, we’d ALL be better off! My son Derek graduated from Antonelli Institute and is now the third photographer in the family. Lee has a job and coworkers he truly loves, and my stepdaughter Lynise is a joy to know. My mother is still alive at 92, and in a nursing home which is truly wonderful and gives her superb care. I continued to expand my personal horizons with my artwork and my writing, which bring me great satisfaction and pleasure. Lee and I have taken a number of courses in topics we love – cosmology, particle physics, quantum mechanics, chaos… truly exciting! I’ve made some amazing new friends on Facebook, and connected with treasured old friends I’d thought lost forever.
So despite the very valid despair we all feel at some of the situations around the world, there are other reasons to give us hope. We earthlings have much to learn, and far to go, but we ARE stepping forward, ever so slowly… I hope that one day we will evolve enough to add to the description of earth’s humans that we took care of each other.
So… I wish you all peace, health, happiness, love and prosperity in the new year and beyond. May our best dreams come true, and our nightmares vanish … may tolerance and compassion rule our hearts, and reason guide our minds. Love and thanks to all my FB friends who’ve made this past year such fun, and extra hugs to you who have lifted me up with your kindnesses and friendship!
Happy New Year!