January 27, 2010

New Year, New Attitude, New You

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As we enter a new decade we must rethink our attitudes to correspond with a changing world. The tone for the 2000’s, set from day one with the Y2K scare, was one of globalized panic, fear and uncertainty. Sept. 11’s impact was overwhelmingly felt at home and was witnessed around the world, feeding into this mindset of fear. Terrorism had always existed (the World Trade Center had been attacked before 2001) but no terrorist attack had been this drastic and symbolic in such scale.

Mass media became obsessed with terrorism, especially suicide bombers, because these are security issues that are out of the control of communities and governments alike. It is devastating, random, and unpredictable, and the worst part is you cannot fight it through conventional means.

The dawn of mainstream terror brought about the invasions of countries and the elimination of civil liberties. Through the Patriot Act and the wars in the Middle East, money, time and attention was diverted to tend to fear. More pressing issues were put in the backburner by the Bush administration, left to Obama and the 2010’s to tackle.

The next decade will be a defining one for humanity, with many decisions being made that will affect the direction of the world. A global effort will be needed to deal with climate change. The Copenhagen Climate Summits will be responsible for drafting a protocol strong enough to allow the world to transition to clean energy, refine detection tools to identify any major natural disaster in order to evacuate and save lives, and, most importantly, to design ways to efficiently assist climate refugees when disasters hit.

Just as the 2000s saw drastic technological growth and reinvention, in the next ten years technology will continue to develop. It will impress us, and just as soon grow outdated.

We have to keep hope that we can still reform our institutions, even as they crumble around us.

When I witnessed Ted Kennedy’s long standing Massachusetts Senate seat go to a Republican, I lost a lot of hope in people, in the system and in my ability to save the world. It was a reality check, that there are greater mechanisms and forces at work. The pseudo-democracies we live in do not give real power to the people, and it will consume your life before you scratch the surface of these systems.

This wake up call has allowed me to divert interest from national and global politics, and focus on developing myself and figuring out life. The birth of a new year has always been an all encompassing green light to turn over a new leaf, to improve and evolve.

If 2009 didn’t work out for you, then let 2010 be the year where you are different. If your ’09 was great, then make someone else’s ’10 better.

What makes life good and worth living are the people around you. The same can be said for life going astray, it is all about the people you interact with and influence you. Improve your environment, fill your life with caring and nurturing people who will support your endeavors and allow you to grow. If you have lost touch with good friends, the new year is a natural window to reestablish bonds with them.

It is also perfect time to trim the fat.

Let go of bad habits, bad friendships, and bad relationships. Realize that bad apples are out there, you don’t have to wait for them to mature and realize their wrong ways. Nip the interactions in the bud; you will be better off. Parasitic relationships are draining; you don’t have time for that.

The only resolutions that are worth setting and pursuing are those that you truly believe in. Lay out in writing who you are and what you stand for, and then spend the year working towards becoming that person. If you know what you believe, and you have chosen those beliefs because they are righteous, then you will become a person of solid character that can lead a life that does not pile on regrets.

To me, art is a potent medium of self awareness. Its power lies in its ability to transcend two of the greatest limitations that a human has; mortality, and ability to properly express emotion. Art is a tool to connect with others, love it and use it.

Vicente Gonzalez is a junior in the College of Industrial Labor Relations. He can be contact at vag28@cornell.edu. Color Between the Lines appears alternate Thursdays this semester.

Original Author: Vicente Gonzalez