Notice anything different about 2017?

By Branwyn Wilkinson

Opinion Contributor

As of this week, we are officially one month into 2017. Have you noticed anything different about this year? Because I have.

People seem to be thinking more positively. Or if they are not thinking positively yet, they’re at least making an effort.  Now maybe that’s only in my social circles, but I don’t think it is.

Ever since the New Year arrived, I have seen a lot of positive content when I open up social media: posts meant to make you smile, or articles about self-love and self-care. The New Year’s resolutions made this year were so much more than the standard goals to “go to the gym” and “eat better.” These kinds of resolutions are only surface deep. The resolutions of 2017 were about making a life change for the better. And a month into the New Year I think it is safe to say we seem pretty bent on keeping them.

When I got back to campus, one of the first things my roommate said to me was that “2017 is the year of self-love.” Three weeks into the semester and everyone in my suite is still yelling “daaamn girl” (our personal code for “shut up, you’re hot”) every time one of us makes a remotely negative comment about themselves. In fact, two of my friends and I came back to school with these kinds of resolutions and our determination to stay positive seems to have filtered into the rest of our friend group as well.

You could also say all the protests going on across the country are evidence of a change for the better. People are getting involved, not just at a local level but at a nation-wide level. Things are going on that we don’t agree with and people are finally taking a stand to make a change. I am sure many will agree that it would have been better to take that stand in November. As the old saying goes, though, better late than never.

I do not know a single person who had a good 2016. Last year wasn’t just a bad year in a general sense; it went after people on a personal level. It seems every other person I talk to reports having had a rough semester, problems at home, or the like. And then just when so many of us thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse, the results of the election came in.

That is why we’re holding so tightly to these resolutions. When the previous year was fine, it is easy to let New Year’s Eve pass by without any lasting significance. When your life is pretty good overall, why work that hard to make a change? But if ever there was a year to prove we need to try to turn things around, it was 2016.

So if there was one good thing to come out of 2016, it was that. We all need a reminder every now and again that we get to choose what kind of life we are going to have. We get to choose to make it a good one. 2016 was a warning against being passive. It showed us what happens when we sit back and let life happen to us. I am encouraged to see so many people being active since the New Year. They are acting not just to make a political change, which is important, but also to make a personal change. We could all stand to be a little bit happier and a little bit more positive. Let’s keep on making 2017 a good one.

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