The Good, the Bad, and the Future

I wrote this on the last day of 2016.  I almost didn’t post it, because we are inundated with such posts this time of year.  But, because I don’t post to my blog nearly enough, I am posting it anyway.  

2016. Yeah. It was…. a lot.

We lost much in 2016. Art and culture took the biggest hit ever, I think. America stands once more divided. I’ve lost friends and family over politics and the inability to debate with grown up words. We will lose more in 2017 if we don’t stand up and fight.  I mean really fight not just talk about fighting and not just sharing Facebook posts saying we support.  So many of the qualities that make us great are on the line and if we meet it with apathy we will lose. We must fight for equality, justice, clean water, human dignity, and our right to live in peace. We must fight to remind those who would oppress our words, our willingness to stand up or sit down or raise a fist or march in` protest that freedom of speech is our right, our obligation, and it applies to all of us. It applies most when our message is difficult to hear and especially when our words and actions challenge the status quo.

2016 had good in it too. Think of Panda Bears and Tigers, their numbers are growing for the first time in generations. Huge strides have been made in the fight against cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. Unemployment is so low that most who want a job have a job. Individuals are rising to their calling and doing great things. The Black Lives Matter movement found new traction with main stream media and society. We learned that it is not ok to water down their message with All Lives Matter.

So much, good and so much bad. 2016 was a year we will never forget. But the one thing I know is that there is hope (yes, I would have said that even if I didn’t just see the new Star Wars movie). There is always hope. And, if I squint my eyes and tilt my head just the right way, I can see a great and bright future in front of us.

On the personal side:

I saw my son go off to college. My throat was tight and my eyes stung, but the rest of me was all pride. He can’t change the world if he stays home forever. He knows what is on his plate. Sometimes it weighs him down a little, but he gets how important he and his generation are to us, more than ever now. Great things are coming from my quiet one, I know it.

My daughter has changed so much in the last 12 months. She is full on teenager now. But, instead of tantrums and craziness (OK there are some of those), she is all about love and joy. She still holds my hand when we walk and offers hugs and cuddles freely. She still jokes with her dad – like constantly but they seem to like it. She is also a straight A student (except for an unfair grade in PE as a result of her asthma), and is reaching for her life’s goals at the ripe old age of 13.

My husband grew his business. He is branching out into new and amazing products. He has increased the scope of shows he does. He brought his art to the freaking Alameda County Fair. It was amazing. He connects with his customers on a level that is impossible to describe.  And all along he continues to be a damn good husband and father too.

I finished my book and started querying it. Slowly. Ever so slowly. I’m like fucking Eeyore with my book, but I’ll get there. It was huge to type the last word and swear to myself that it was done. To write the best book I was able for my skill set was all I wanted to do and I did it. I also got to read some great works from some of my writing friends. I grew and learned new things in my job. Moving forward…always moving forward.

I think 2017 will be a great year for the Gonsalves Jojola household.  Chris has even greater plans for his business.  I have established goals for my writing.  I am developing a great idea for my otherwise useless blog.  My kids will continue to grow and thrive.  I am thankful, so thankful, for our whole big-crazy-stupid family and all our friends – each one brings light and joy to our days.  Our family enters the new year strong, happy, and filled with more love than I feel worthy of taking. 

So yeah, 2016 was a challenging year and 2017 will have its share of challenges, but with a little luck and a lot of hard work in 365 days we can celebrate the passing of a great year. 

Sunset in Maui

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