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2016: Good riddance – bring it on 2017!

Were you happy with 2016? Or are you ready to kill it, burn the body, and bury the ashes?

by Ella J. Smyth in Personal thoughts
December 31, 2016 0 comments

Reflections on a crappy year

2016As I’m writing this on the last day of 2016, I look outside my window at frost covering my garden, beautifying the ugly trampoline that the kids still jump on occasionally. It is freezingcold. When I opened the living-room door to take the pictures, my son nearly turned into an icicle. His words. He’s thirteen so prone to teenage melodrama.

One of the highlights of 2016 was thePentatonix concert in Frankfurt, two days after the Orlando massacre. They played this song and dedicated it to the victims. You could have heard a pin drop. One of the most moving moments in my life and one I won’t forget. There wasn’t a dry eye in the hall…

Pentatonix – Light in the Hallway

The World Sucks

2016 has been a difficult year for me like for so many others. The whole world has gone crazy. Political tectonic shifts like Brexit and Trump. Human outrages, Nice, Orlando, Brussels, Ankara, Berlin, Aleppo – was there one country in the world that wasn’t in some way touched by religious madness and crazy dogs bringing their carnage into our personal space? Or vice versa?

Small but equally soul-destroying experiences like that rabid clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. The brutal attacks of police against the black community and the horrific backlash. The Pharma Games of Rio. The death of thousands and thousands of desperate people fleeing their homes. The treatment of traumatized survivors in so-called civilized countries like Hungary where police pepper-sprayed children.

So Many Lost

img_6051And then the stream of beloved celebrities dying, David Bowie, Prince, George Michael (seriously? I’m still in disbelief), Carrie Fisher and her mom, AA Gill, Victoria Wood, the list goes on and on and on.

So forgive me if I didn’t feel like celebrating Christmas this year. While we sit and eat turkey and praise the birth of Jesus, others build walls, persecute minorities and spout bigoted hatred in the name of the son of god.

I withdrew into my home and enjoyed the company of family and friends. And it was lovely. As long as I didn’t turn on the news.

My Personal 2016

The crazy thing is that 2016 was a good year for me. I finished my book Spirit Hunger. I tackled five years of tax submissions that had woken me up in the middle of the night with worry. My husband was promoted, my kids are doing great, a good friend had a lung transplant and is doing well.

Bring it On, 2017!

Honestly, it’s hard to imagine that 2017 could be worse than the last year. Although the new man in the White House doesn’t fill me with confidence. The USA is already suffering the effects of global warming with a huge increase of tornadoes, draught, and strange weather patterns. I can’t see this getting better with a man who wants to turn the clock back 50 years and increase reliance on fossil fuel. I suppose he’s too old to give a shit about what happens in 30 years. He’ll be dead by then. Thanks a lot.

Resolutions

My resolutions are two-fold, personally and professionally:

  • lift my family’s health to a new level. We’ve slipped (more like I couldn’t be bothered to cook for the last two months while finishing THE BOOK. So we’ve decided to eat vegetarian and add a bit of meat with each dish. I’m already working out 3 times a week, lifting weights. Just need to add a bit more cardio, walking, swimming, rowing to my routine.
  • Write more books. I’m getting started on *Spirit Elfen*, the second part in the series. It’ll be set in Heidelberg, Germany, my alma mater. I envisage a few trips to this beautiful town and maybe some overnight stays in the summer. Yay, something to look forward to!

Maybe I’ll even manage part 3, *Spirit Warrior*. For that, I’ll have to do a ton of research into native American legends and belief-systems, so again, exciting, challenging and so so cool. Can’t wait!

I’m very tempted to slip in a novella, featuring gay kick-ass detective Jason Wozniak, Chicago PD. I read a lot of romantic detective stories and this guy wants out, in every sense. Out of my head and onto the page, as well as out of the closet. Who am I to deny freedom to a fictional character!   

My Wish to You All

img_6052I wish you lots of health and success in 2017. When life turns shit, hug your family, your friends, your lovers. We can’t do it by ourselves, we need people around us who understand and support us. If you’re surrounded by people who don’t give you that, cut them out. Life is too short to be dragged down by users and emotional leeches.

When things get hard, you need to be able to ask for help. Turn off the radio, TV, internet news and focus on the good things. And there are many, believe me. Your kids, the first peep of green in spring, lying by the lake in the summer and listening to the dragonflies. Find those moments and treasure them.

Happy New Year to You All!