A version of this piece was originally published at GeekGirlCon’s blog. In the time (11 days!) between it was published and now, there have been at least two terror attacks internationally (plus one averted), even more influential figures have passed away, and the Electoral College confirmed Trump as President. There are still four days left in the year, which I’m cautiously optimistic will just pass away quickly and uneventfully.
My original plan for this blog post was to write a review of the events of the past 12 months. But, for a lot of us, 2016 was not the greatest year, for a variety of reasons. A lot of scary political things happened, or are still happening, both at home and abroad. Many figures who were influential when we were growing up passed away. Zika, Brexit, having giraffes added to the endangered species list…
It’s no wonder that some people have described this year as a giant dumpster fire.
But I guess that I’m ever the optimist, and even in the face of an uncertain future I look forward to opportunities for changing ourselves for the better. It might not look like much in the grand scheme of things—I mean, what is learning how to crochet really going to do when there are animals on the brink of extinction?—but I believe in progress, even if progress happens to be tiny baby steps that are barely perceivable on a large scale. As long as you keep on moving, you’re still getting somewhere, as it were.
Here, in no particular order, is a list of small things to add to your resolutions:
- Get politically active. If politics has been getting you down, do something about it! There have been stories about women becoming inspired to run for government following this year’s Presidential election, and there are several resources available for preparing women for the role. Organizations such as She Should Run, for instance, provide women with tools for political office. There’s also the Women’s March on Washington taking place next year on January 21 in DC.
- Support organizations that support you. If politics aren’t your thing, you can still lend your voice to resources that might resonate with you. For example, you could donate to or volunteer with GeekGirlCon, or support their partners, such as the ACLU, Girl Scouts of Western Washington, All Cycles, or the Big Brained Superheroes Club. Keep Planned Parenthood‘s doors open, or, internationally, donating to organizations such as Médecins Sans Frontières, Amnesty International, Unicef or the American Refugee Committee. Let your donation do the talking for you.
- Be creative. Write, draw, sing, and play. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to code, do it! There are a lot of good, free online sources for learning (or rather, teaching yourself) how to code. Two sites that I like using are Codecademy and Free Code Camp. The nice thing about the online sources is that you can learn at your own pace, and there are networks of other users who you can ask for help.
- Take time for self-care. There’s already plenty of stress in the world as it is, so make sure you take care of you. Read a book that you’ve always wanted to, or watch a favorite movie. Do something that makes you happy.
Here’s to a brighter, braver new year. ❤