By Colette Fitzpatrick
It’s that time of the year, the turning from one to another and, this year it is particularly significant as we move from one decade to the next. Given the shit storm that has been recent global events – a certain orange head of state, Brexit, the Amazon burning, a constant fear of a nuclear war breaking out as countries feud and puff up their chests and parade about, children learning that their schools may just be the most dangerous place to spend their time, the unveiling of the true extent of misconduct and abuse and victimisation in all industries and facets of our lives… – it is no wonder that people are eagerly hoping that 2020 will help salve all of our wounds and offer better things. But, the thing is, it won’t get better unless we do something. Now is a major turning point in the history of the world and we need to step up to the plate. So, here are the things that I hope for the world in 2020, or God help us all.
1. That People Get Angry
Australia, like California and the Amazon in recent months, looks like a literal hellscape right now. And it is. Half a billion (half a billion) animals are dead and with them a third of all koalas, New Zealanders 2000km away are suffering breathing problems, tens of people are missing or dead, thousands are homeless, ice-caps are melting at an accelerated rate because of the heat being generated, and their Prime Minister still does not believe in Global Warming. It’s long past time to be angry. We should all be furious. We should be demanding change all over the world. Weight goals, financial targets, marriage prospects: none of these things should matter to any of us as we go into 2020 half so much as saving our planet. Be outraged, get loud, vote with your votes and your money, and demand that our governments stop this. We don’t have much time left.
2. That People Shift Priorities
While we do need massive, industrial, legislative, governmental change to save the Earth, none of us can shirk our personal responsibilities either. I hope that more people will choose the common good over a second or third (or even any) holiday abroad, over mindless consumption, over needless waste. We are living an utterly unsustainable lifestyle at the cost of the planet and the quality of life and well-being of people in other parts of the world and in our own communities. Consumerism and capitalism would sell us the lie that unlimited growth is possible and that we should want it but what we should be really aiming for is that, instead of any one of us lining our pockets, there would be less suffering in the world and a more even distribution of resources. No one has to be a martyr but when making choices in how to spend one’s life and money, I hope that more people would consider their impact on the world and the real legacy we are leaving behind in 2020.
3. That Adults Stop Cycling On Footpaths
Look, I’m not going to lie, this is more of a personal pet peeve but if I encounter one more adult barreling down a footpath on a bicycle, I’m going to lose it. Good on you for choosing a more eco-friendly mode of transport, for staying fit, and spending time outdoors but shame on you if you can’t obey the rules of the road. Rules are rules for a reason not arbitrarily decided upon. It’s dangerous and lazy and dumb. If you’re on a one-way street and can’t cycle on the road or if you are worried about cycling on a dark or hectic stretch or the road, get off your bike and push it alongside you. It’s that simple. It won’t kill a person, it’ll only add a little time to your journey and, in the meantime, the grannies and wee little kids and distracted people of the world who should be safe on the footpath will remain that way, okay? In general, as cycling culture only continues to grow in Ireland, I think it only fair that in 2020 we expect more to learn how to cycle safely and to be considerate in how they occupy public spaces.
4. That More People Live And Let Live
The world is changing rapidly and that’s hard for people to adjust to but change isn’t always bad and the world being a more compassionate place, where there is space for all kinds of people, can only be a good thing. We should all have the freedom and safety to be who we are and live how we choose, as long as we are not hurting others or the planet. Understanding and acceptance should be the end goal but if you’re not there quite yet, maybe just spend more of 2020 listening to others’ stories and trying to come to some understanding of their journey. Plus, it is always fascinating to get an insight into lives and ways of living that are different to our own and, after a while, you will probably realise you have a lot more in common than you think. Life is so incredibly short, why waste it worrying about or judging the lives of others? Live and let live.
5. That We All Decide To Make Our Own Definitions Of Success And Happiness
This is the only go at life that you are guaranteed. Maybe you have a faith that says otherwise but, even in that case, you can only be sure of this, of now. The internet is all well and good – social media can change lives and start movements, education can be democratised by online resources, art from all over the world is at your fingertips – and nice things are nice, money is necessary to live and most of us want to look our best, careers are important and something that can boost our self-esteem and it’s always flattering and exciting to be wanted or admired but most of these things can change at any moment. You can get fired or a company can close down, people can pass away or decide to leave, we all will inevitably age, things can get lost or broken, the Wi-Fi connection can drop or accounts can get hacked. If you only place your self-worth in outside forces, you will always be in a precarious position. This is not to say that you shouldn’t aim for the things you want in life but you shouldn’t be nothing without them either. And you definitely should not judge others for wanting different things or not having certain boxes ticked off at certain points in their lives. In 2020, let’s do better than assuming childless women are unhappy or unfulfilled, at deeming young to be all that is beautiful, at equating only financial increases as success, and all of those other lazy, oversimplified expectations of life that we thrust upon ourselves and others, trapping us all.
There is, in fact, much more that I want for the world and for us all but lists of five things are nice and simple and compact. Mostly though, I just want 2020 to bring hope and change so that we can have other new years to celebrate in the future. We’re all in this together, let’s be kind and hold tight and work as one to build a better world for those who will follow, instead of using our short lives to ruin and make things irrevocably worse for generations to come (or not to come, as the case may be).
Looking for more interesting posts? Check out our review of Sprezzatura and our guide to the Dublin neighbourhood of Rathmines..