We have come to a new year and, hopefully, new hope. I must admit that I am not exactly holding my breath but then that is not exactly my nature. I am not a breath holder.
If you were to divide the world into optimists and pessimists, I would have to sit on the outside and watch. I am neither optimist nor pessimist but I am also not what most people call a realist, since that is usually just a cynical way of saying pessimist. Optimists are easily cut down when the world inevitably throws a curveball and pessimists couldn't build a better world if you handed them an instruction manual with full-color, three dimensional illustrations. If we are to truly ever have a chance of making one year better than the one that preceded it, we must put aside the ideas of Do Gooders and Doom Sayers alike.
On the one hand, we must be willing to admit when something is bad, when something is wrong, when something is contrary to our ideal. Note I did not say different from our ideal. Different and contrary are not necessarily the same. If we are going to improve anything we must first recognize that something needs to be improved then we must be willing to do the improving. We cannot expect that everything we do "for the good" will actually result in the good. We cannot assume that because someone says they are for the good then what they do is good. We must be willing and able to see things as they are and work accordingly. There has never been a utopia on this earth and there has never been reason to believe that would be otherwise.
On the other hand, we cannot dismiss every possibility as failure before it has even begun. We have to be willing and able to recognize that things can improve and can be done right. The world is not going to hell in a handbasket and, despite centuries upon centuries of prophets of doom, we are no closer to destroying the world than ever before.
Our world is not great and it is not terrible. There are great spots and there are terrible spots, but spots do not make a whole. Take those spots that are great and use them as examples of what to do. Take those spots that are terrible and use them as examples of what not to do.
I said I was not a realist as the term is commonly used, but I am a realist as the word itself implies. Reality, what is, is the best teacher and reality teaches that everything can change and that change can go in virtually any direction. It is a new year but whether or not it is a happy new year depends on what we choose to do with it. We can waste time by denying reality through foolish optimism or destructive pessimism or we can face reality head-on and do what it dictates to make a happy new year.