The end of the year has come. This is the time to reflect upon the year to which we bid farewell and prepare to welcome 2013 with a solemn wish of achieving our goals and find our path to prosperity, happiness, love or whatever it is we strive for.
Each New Year is a mystery veiled in glorious promises and excitement at the very beginning. On New Year’s Eve we bid farewell to the year that is about to become a part of our past and symbolically welcome the New Year and all the hopes for it that we hold in our hearts.
For me, 2012 is particularly memorable. It has been a grand roller coaster voyage from the pits of financial struggles to a slow rise in speed, traveling increasingly faster to new heights, and finally concluding in a quiet holiday season. Now we let the tiredness fade and prepare for the adventures of 2013.
For my husband and I and many more, the sun shines once more after the struggles and uncertainties of the post-crash years.
2013 is a year full of hope and exciting adventures are on the horizon. We dare to dream and look forward to fulfilling some of them, especially those that include traveling and academic achievements.
Our parade of hope with all its dancing and incantations is breaking down the obstacles standing in the way of happiness. We acknowledge the lessons we must learn, and look within to prevent more problems from occurring..
Old habits are hard to kill.
For some, past glory of an unprecedented expansion of the local financial system was their moment of glory and perhaps sorely missed in dimmer days.
In my mind, our truest object of national pride is actually Mother Nature’s generous gift to us. We bare testimony to natural wonders every day without realizing it.
In the early afternoon, I observe the deep orange-red flares bidding farewell another day, and rising once more as I return home after a morning walk with my beloved puppy Emma.
Some nights, as I take her out in the middle of the night and look up, I see stars flickering in the sky and dancing vivacious green Auroras crossing the sky back and forth.
It’s not just the locals that want to bathe in nature’s unspoiled glory. Curious travelers from all corners of the globe come to visit our little island to see the awesome force of our geysers and volcanoes, experience the almost violent wind speed and the thundering deity of the North Atlantic Ocean, and travel inland to see magnificent glaciers where the landscape is constantly shifting.
Like a teenager, we stand on the verge of assuming a national character of which we can be proud.
History has proven we don’t take criticism very well (as most teenagers do). As a nation, we should learn humility. We should learn to be less critical of critical voices and pay heed when wise words are spoken.
We should embrace temporary visitors and new residents to our shores, especially those who are fleeing troubles so horrific we’d rather not know such cruelty exists.
We should aim to be role models in environmentally-friendly living and use the opportunity the spring election provides by demanding a better transport system for all (including furry pet keepers) and the creation of new and exciting employment opportunities where intellectuality, creativity, and manual labor skills are ecological in practice.
We should ask that our politicians listen to us. Yes, listen to what we have to say instead of murmuring their idle complaints and wasting our tax money each day a solution cannot be agreed upon. There are more days of idleness than effectiveness.
We should be critical of the current status of prosperity in our society and ask for real solutions and sincerity in action when handling difficult cases requiring delicate procedures.
Why is it that we should accept the devaluation of our salary year after year?
We need to be strong and focused in 2013. We need to believe we count as citizens of the world and the country we call home.
We need to start seeing Iceland as part of the international community and not be embarrassed by our comparable smallness to the majority of countries.
We need to stop equating a shared currency as a threat to our national pride. The reality is that we are nothing short of being an arrondissement in Paris managed by the local municipality where it comes to managing our own currency.
Most of Europe shares a single currency managed by the European Central Bank. We are too small to compare ourselves with the giants who have an economic area the size of the Sahara desert or abundantly wealthy in black gold.
We have so much potential and we need to decide 2013 is the year when we start to count again; when we get the healthcare we deserve and healthcare staff gets compatible salary in accordance to their education and skills.
2013 is a year for opportunity. We have the chance to challenge our politicians to start working for and with us. To cancel out political party agenda and do what needs to be done to help Icelandic society live up to its grand potentials as an ecological utopia, inhabited by responsible citizens of the world willing to share our vastness with those men, women and children whose troubles we will more than likely never face, and the will to examine our character and mend what character flaws need mending.
Until we decide to be better people and therefore a better nation, change will continue to be absent.
Change starts within a single individual choosing to be a better citizen and taking responsibility for our actions and be fearless in taking the step to an even better life.
2012 was a fantastic year for me, both as a steep learning curve and finding the confidence to climb over what seemed to be unbreakable barriers. I am a better person now than I was a year ago.
Some of my friends and family members have come extraordinarily far and overcome bigger obstacles, both personal and societal.
My wish for 2012 is simply that we cut free from the anchor that is the anger and rage, and has characterized the debates in the crisis years, and start planning and slowly building a new platform for a splendid future where equality, generosity, kindness and mutual respect for one another and our precious planet is the basis of our society.
Happy New Year, wherever you may be!
Júlíana Björnsdóttir - firstname.lastname@example.org