2016, In Memoriam

8:03 pm HelenLJohnson 0 Comments

Let's face it, 2016 hasn't been the best of years. In fact, it has been quite dire. As I am writing this it has just been announced that Carrie Fisher has sadly passed away, another icon and influential person that has been took away from the world. Every year there are people we know - friends, family and people we hold dear that may not even know we exist but still mean a great deal to us, sadly die. However this year something feels different, the rate appears accelerated. I asked my mum, was it because I am getting older? Is it because I am getting older that I am aware of and have memories tied to more people than when I was younger? My Mum, who is 60, the same age as Carrie, replied that no, she has never known a year like it.

Of course, the whole essence of time, the calendar, a day, a month, ages etc are a man made creation. They are handy shortcuts to understand how we exist and provide a structure for the human race; with subtle differences between cultures. We can say that 2016 is cursed, that it is the worst year ever however in the Ethiopian calendar we are in the year 2008/2009, the Javanese is 1949/1950 and the Byzantine calendar is 7524/7525. In South Korea, when a person is born, they are one year old and at the start of the new year everyone turns one year older. Our awareness of other humans have increased with a growing media consumption and greater communication devices means we can stay in touch more efficiently than ever before. 2016 probably won't be the last year that we are shocked by the sheer volume of deaths of our idols. 

On a more personal note, 2016 has seen both myself, my friends and my family go through so many challenges including deaths, illness, unwanted house moves, redundancies and debt. Brexit brought about divides, as did the election of Trump. Everything, it seemed, happened at once.

However it is important, when it seems like 2016 has got us all down to pick out the positives and firmly hold on to them. I may have not had a 'job' in the traditional sense this year, but I am a creative person and ended up creating items to sell and took on freelancing roles. I then made it my mission to enjoy this extra time I sometimes had as in the near future, I will more than likely not have it. I aimed to read more of my books that I kept on buying and found that the time sat on trains really ate away at the bookshelf. I also took the massive risk of embarking on a PhD in lieu of of permanent job, and while I have struggled to get back into academic life and considered dropping out just so I can feel like I am getting on with life. I am still there, and hopefully very soon I will feel like I am achieving something, not just hiding away from the real world in my old university. The fact is, I am not really a student anymore, I have teaching duties and I am expected to publish articles before I graduate. There are roles and expectations from the department that I must meet. I was scared by the prospect of three more years, minimum, however I am already halfway through the first. Time, as it is constructed, gets away from us all. It is important that we do the best we can to fill it with what we want and need to do. However time out to reflect, to chill, to do 'nothingness' is also vitally important. The departure of our inspirational people this year should remind us of this. 

I'm not really expecting anyone to read this blogpost, it is a change from the usual and something that I normally keep to my private journals. I just felt, for 2016, it needed to be typed out to try and absorb and reflect on it all. Because constructed or not, it has been one hell of a year for almost us all, and I hope that 2017 is a better one.

Have a wonderful New Year.