“So here’s to new mistakes, beautiful ones, tremendous ones, ones that stir your soul and re-arrange the norms holding you back.” Almost exactly a year ago, I toasted away 2013 with those words. As that year dissipated into a now long-gone haze of selfies, Macklemore’s shopping habits, and Beyonce influencing millions on how they should wake up looking every morning, what lay in store for everyone in the uncharted waters of 2014 would prove to be more unyielding and exacting than the buffoonery of Harlem Shake and twerking videos of that year past. Long gone in 2014 were the then trying times of Candy Crush invites and life after Breaking Bad. Instead, the mistakes that I’d hoped and knew we’d make revealed themselves in forms that truly wrenched at our collective hearts and pushed the limits of resolve, tolerance and integrity. Whether personally or en masse, 2014 was generally a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year.
So imagine my predicament when approaching this article: I’m sitting here struggling to get my memory to regurgitate all of this past year’s notable events and touchstones — moments that mattered to culture and society — only to find myself trying to sift through a mass of trials and tribulations, events deplorable and barely worth celebrating, happenings that had us getting drunk on New Year’s Eve champagne to forget this past year instead of using it to toast to the triumphs of it. 2014 was a pretty crappy year, not only for me personally but also as a whole for everyone. The parallels of struggle between my personal life and the world around me tested foundations and inherent truths that I and we as people thought would get us through such strife.
This was a year marred by loss, crisis and confusion; one where the world seemed to orbit around the cumulatively negative pull of Ebola, ISIS, police brutality, injustices, racial tensions, cultural appropriation, domestic abuse in sports, an international passenger plane that vanished into thin air, and the selfie stick. For God’s sake even The Genie died. What’s more, that ensuing meme may have been the saddest, most tear-jerking, heart strings-shredding meme ever created.
Yes, 2014 gave out L’s to everybody like it was Oprah and the world, her studio audience.
Hopefully, with the start of a new year, we can come to terms with such and look beyond the steaming heap of the past 365 days. And though we’d very well love to treat 2014 as the black cat of our lives, facing it would do us more good than not. For as much as I promised everyone that the mistakes we made would be beautiful and tremendous, know that what I was getting at was the beauty found in the growth, progress and lessons we take away after making them.
So after the dust of 2014 has settled, and we find ourselves at the bottom of 2015 looking up, just know that that’s the direction that we all as sensible, intelligent human beings should be going in. All balls bounce by the natural function of hitting bottom and propelling upwards in reaction. We in 2014 have all pretty much fell, striking the depths of our failures. But let’s all remember and focus on that bounce, that knee-jerk reaction of resilience that will launch us into a 2015 filled with nothing but up.