“It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life for me, and I’m feeling good!”
DRE Corner By Aoife Barrington-Haber
These lyrics by Leslie Bricusse could be my mantra for the coming year. It would be a lot better than looking back at the past year every day and thinking how terrible it was. I know some of you lost family members or friends this year, and that is a pain like no other.
But as the New Year approaches, I find myself growing weary of the constant cursing of 2016 and it’s tireless reaping of celebrity lives. It is as if the year itself has been imbued with a personality and stands as a scapegoat for all our anger. I wish to not diminish their deaths, but to find a way out of this constant sadness, lest I drown in it. I wonder… Is it really necessary for us fans to mourn them so fiercely? Admittedly I felt sadness at the loss of some tremendously talented and unique actors and musicians this year. But it puzzles me why we mourn people we didn’t even know. It’s very different from a personal loss when regular life has forever changed, an absence sharply felt every day going forward. Celebrities, on the other hand, exist in a sort of Shroedinger’s box; most days we would have no idea if they were alive or dead without some kind of immediate proof.
Do we mourn the future that will not be? When a famous performer dies at age 50 or 60, we have reason to think they could have kept on producing great work for years had they lived longer. Even Leonard Cohen at age 82 produced one last album just weeks before shuffling off with grace and dignity. So yes, they may have done more. But can we really lose a future that hasn’t happened?
Though we won’t hear any more from them, that does not mean we have lost the gifts they gave to the world, or the huge impact they made on our lives when we were young. Just the fact that they lived, that they reached beyond the ordinary to stir our souls, should be a source of inspiration.
So I suggest we take a lesson from the tradition of the Irish wake, of throwing a raucous party to celebrate the life that has ended. Celebrate in any way you see fit; throw a birthday party, raise a glass, put on your Princess Leia buns, and express joy and gratitude for their gifts.
Then embrace each day as a chance to make the world a better place. It’s a shiny new year, and what better resolution than to create a life that will be celebrate when we are gone. Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? -Mary Oliver
Coming up in RE:
Sunday schedule: 1/1 Winter break ; 1/8 Classes, Coming of Age; 1/15 MLK weekend- Mixed age activity 11:30-1 pm Teacher Training, Dean Room*; 1/22 Classes; 1/29 Last Class of Fall Semester.
Coming of Age *Spring Semester begins on February 5th. It’s not too late to sign up and volunteer! Teachers and assistants of all experience levels needed.