This one goes out to the haters

I’m wary of saying “bye” to 2017 and celebrating the demise of a terrible year. I did that to 2016, which turned out to be a walk in the park compared to the shitshow that 2017 quickly became.

I’m with Paul Bettany on Twitter:

“In January I dismissed my mate’s theory that David Bowie was the glue holding the universe together but I don’t know man… I don’t know…”

I’ve written about the big picture stuff for Metro. On a personal level I had some experiences I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

But, and it’s a big but, I’m leaving 2017 as a much happier person than I remember ever being. I’m optimistic about the future. Not so long ago I wasn’t sure I had a future. And a huge part of that change has been because I’ve made a conscious effort to question my own bullshit, to try and see the world as it is or might be rather than through a glass darkly.

As Morrissey put it:

It’s so easy to laugh, It’s so easy to hate
It takes strength to be gentle and kind

But it’s so worth it, no matter how imperfectly you may do it. If you’re determined to see the worst, that’s all you’ll see. If you try to be respectful and kind, you get it back in spades.

One of my favourite films is the 1990 psychological thriller Jacob’s Ladder. In it (27-year-old-spoiler alert!) one of the characters, Danny Aiello’s Louis, paraphrases the German theologian Eckhart Von Hochheim:

Eckhart saw Hell too. He said: The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won’t let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they’re not punishing you, he said. They’re freeing your soul. So the way he sees it, if you’re frightened of dying and… and you’re holding on, you’ll see devils tearing your life away. But if you’ve made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth. It’s just a matter of how you look at it, that’s all. So don’t worry, okay? Okay?

I’m not suggesting that 2017 was analogous to Hell. But I like the metaphor of battling demons when they’re really angels, freeing your soul.

It’s just a matter of how you look at it, that’s all.

So don’t worry, okay?