Having experienced more than a few new years, we know our limits. We understand that the human condition won’t change much in 2016.
But recognizing that global peace, full equality and an end to suffering will remain works in progress, we can determine that this year will be a little better, a little different.
We can resolve to exercise more and eat less while hoping that wage stagnation won’t force further belt tightening.
We can make 2016 the year we really do spend less time working overtime and more time with family and good friends, while keeping our fingers crossed that it won’t be because our hours have been trimmed.
Maybe this will be the year when we get serious about saving for retirement, despite reasonable worries that the system is rigged in ways that ensure Wall Street wins and the rest of us don’t.
Maybe we’ll look past fears that it’s too late for old dogs to learn new tricks and take the time to return to school to get that degree or gain a new skill, or take a class in art history or Shakespeare or wine making, just because learning new things is a good thing.
Perhaps we’ll pay down student debt, imagining the day when politicians and educators realize that jacking up tuition and charging 7.9 percent on student loans is counterproductive and robs young people of pieces of their future.
Even a few degrees’ difference, a slight shift in perspective, could open up all sorts of change for the better in 2016.
Or we ought to read more and better books, or at least listen to the audio versions, and blow off the latest reality show, realizing that, in addition to death and taxes, a third certainty awaits us: the cable television industry will raise prices, again.
There will be politics, as ever. By this time next year, we will have had more than our fill of insipid campaign ads. We will have elected a new president, a U.S. senator, legislators, members of Congress, a new mayor and City Council members, and decided many ballot measures.
How you vote will matter, even if California’s electoral votes in the presidential race seem to be a foregone conclusion, and even if you vote only for the pleasure of telling family and friends that your choice would have been better for that vacancy in the Oval Office or City Hall.
We hope that next mayor resolves to finding solutions to homelessness, picking up the garbage on time, and creating safe bike lanes. And we hope that the next president keeps the nation secure, avoids war unless it is unavoidable, and doesn’t intrude on how we spend our days, so long as we follow the rules, which, within reason, we of course will resolve to do.
We know resolutions often are not kept, that news is not always good, that mankind is only human. We know that with each passing year, life gets shorter and so more precious, and that after a certain age, it is clear that happiness is in the eye of the beholder.
But even a few degrees’ difference, even a slight shift in perspective, can open up all sorts of change for the better. May 2016, even with all its limits, be for us all a happy new year.