“And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been, full of work that has never been done.…” ~Rainer Maria Rilke
I like to think that the new year offers us a reset button. Heaven knows we need one—after being caught for years in an endless maze of election deniers, science deniers, common sense deniers, and, yes, even bird deniers.
Kindness took some hits, as we saw personal attacks on and by political candidates reach new highs, er, lows. And we saw people elected to respected national offices raise their middle fingers to opponents both literally and figuratively in peerless demonstrations of class and refinement. And we saw a former president consign his deceased first wife to eternal rest near the first tee of a third-rate golf course in New Jersey.
There’s no denying that we also saw abundant kindness over these past few years—from neighbors aiding neighbors during a pandemic and weather emergencies, to strangers donating kidneys to people they had never met, to chickens adopting orphaned kittens.
One of my biggest hopes for 2023 is that enough of us will commit to choosing and practicing kindness—not just when it’s easy, but when it’s downright hard—that we will introduce a new epidemic into the world: an epidemic of kindness.
Since there weren’t a lot of people following this blog in its earliest months, I’m going to hit the reset button here, too, and revisit some of my earliest notions about kindness, exploring and updating key ideas, to remind myself, and maybe others, too, that kindness is a way of life we choose—or don’t choose—daily.
I hope you’ll join me in 2023 for a kindness reboot.
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, safe, and kind New Year.
“I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.” ~Neil Gaiman