2017 sometimes reminds me of a long dark tunnel, punctuated with brief intermissions of light, and the expectations of light seem somehow too long. By any measure, 2017 has been a revolutionary year—and it gives us plenty of food for thought! By “revolutionary,” I mean constituting or bringing about a major or fundamental change.
In my experience, a good summary of the year past leads to a good beginning of the year to come. So, let’s do what always helps: see the big picture, find inspirations in effects of the past and present, analyze them, and move on. Because it’s time.
Our past has some power to forecast our present and give a clue on a future. When we consider what happened in the past, we see an abundance of outstanding anniversaries in 2017, such as:
- One hundred years of the Bolsheviks’ takeover in Russia—or, as they call it in my birth country, a centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution
- 150 years of Karl Marx’ Capital where he concluded that no matter what you do, capitalism is not sustainable and inevitably ends in a catastrophe.
- 50 years since the death of Che Guevara, the face of revolutions in Latin America
- 500 years anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Thesis, nailed to the church door—which ultimately led to the Protestant revolution.
These events are nothing short of revolutionary, leaving human society with significant consequences, ideas, values, and costs. What’s the echo in 2017?
Why 2017 Is Noteworthy
This year showed the rebellious spirit on the rise, for instance:
- The American saw the game-changing president Donald Trump occupy the White House – and the political trump-quake in action.
- Britain launched its divorce with the European Union.
- Both Russia and China started to challenge the America-led status-quo, unsettling the US influence worldwide.
- Not only the forces of change promoted more women into the top positions, but also fresh feminist wave opposing sexual harassment, #MeToo, has swept many predatory bosses off their chairs. This does resemble a mini-revolution when something’s gotta give.
- Anti-globalization forces proved strong but not all-mighty. When the agenda of some politicians in the US, UK, and France injected adrenaline to other economic nationalists, it started gathering strength in Europe—but because of young progressivist leadership of France’s president Emmanuel Macron and Canada’s prime-minister Justin Trudeau, many centrists in Germany, Netherlands, and even Austria resisted backslash and embraced the world, remaining open to trade and diverse cultures—which, at this day and time, sounds revolutionary enough.
- Diversity and Inclusion have been inching forward, despite a flurry of provoked racist and anti-Semitic activities—which served as wake-up calls for all people who always believed that the USA is a true democracy. The counter-revolution of the alt-right met a strong opposition of the united left and middle/center progressivists and conservatives alike. When further united, this front can do even better in 2018 and beyond, and the battle to sustain the original American Revolution will be won, again.
Taking Things Personally
My ups and downs took turn throughout 2017. They have not been too visible from the outside but felt very much like such on the inside. What do I mean?
First, I do count my blessings for my good, healthy, and growing family; I prepared and performed the second best-attended webinar for SIETAR-Europa (Society for Intercultural Education, Training, and Research) which is now on YouTube; my presentations at SIETAR-Italia in Milan and SIETAR-USA in San Diego brought me new friends and followers; invited to contribute to a post-conference volume in Italy I did so. Fairly well, right?
Second, my personal “downs” were not too many or too dramatic—may be because America turned me into a somewhat thicker-skinned individual. Indeed, my progressive publisher returned my book with instructions how to elaborate it, and it took me half a year. The entire process upset me and there was no way of expressing my stress with tears or anger—because who am I, a crybaby? No way! I did what’s necessary and moved on and felt much better ever since: the trade book (as they call it in the publishing industry) will be better suited for a mass market. This came at a cost but who cares?
Third comes my detached “down-point” – regarding our politicians who make everyday news while dismantling the prowess of the US both on the international arena and at home. This, of course, is outside-of-me, a virtual public stress—but it has a way of constantly accumulating and weighing me down, however distant. How to deal with that?
Let’s tie it all together and sum up.
Ours is an exciting time to live. We owe it to ourselves to weather the darker times, and:
- Accept the recurrent revolutionary spirit of our time which calls to real action.
- Step out of our like-minded-only communities, our virtual ivory towers, and get accustomed to living in a real, broader world.
- Speak up, support open-minded ideas, and move on with the new dreams of our own.
- On a personal level, my best to-do is to practice what my father used to say, “Tunnels end with light, prepare for that.” True to this spirit, I keep summing up the lessons of tougher times—to move on, in 2018. Even though the light may be effectively disguised, it is there! I am a believer that light and openness are my only options to move on.
Follow me if you can.