Ah the start of a new year! A time when people have a bunch of memories to look back on and a lot of new ones to look forward to. Many hype up the new year as a fresh start, brimming with new possibilities, but I’m not one of them. After all, changing your life isn’t as easy as changing your calendar.
But experience is the best teacher. And the start of the year is a great time to reflect on the past and learn a thing or two from it. And with a year as packed as 2018, which felt painfully slow and like a blur all at once, I think there’s a lot for us to look back on and take away from.
- Think Before You Tweet
The tweet that started it all
2018 is the year where Twitter saw plenty of activity and the number of tweets that went viral for the wrong reasons is overwhelming. But the ones that stood out to me were Kanye West’s Twitter proclamations — like the one expressing a desire to abolish the 13th Amendment, which outlaws slavery. Kanye faced a lot of flack for these comments, and later apologized for how his tweets made people feel. Some still believe his comments were misconstrued — but the jury is out on that. The takeaway, however, has nothing to do with how West feels about slavery or whether he supports Trump. It reminds us that even though tweeting often feels like we’re screaming into the void that is the internet — it has consequences. The internet is forever and actual people are reading the things we post. So it wouldn’t hurt to think our tweets through.
2. Wholesome Makeovers Are for Everyone
Imagine Cinderella’s transformation if her fairy godmother was replaced by five fabulous queer men (The Fab Five) — she’d be a lot better off, I think. And that’s just what Netflix’s hit 2018 series is. One may easily mistake this series for a plain ‘ol makeover show, but it’s so much more! The Fab Five travel across America to give other men (most often, straight men) complete makeovers — right from their wardrobe, hair, and homes, to giving them advice about self-care, relationships, and how to get in touch with themselves and their feelings. What a breath of fresh air! And the cherry on top? The Fab Five are imparting some real wisdom throughout the show — stuff that applies to most of us. So my lesson here is that we all deserve to care for ourselves, inside and out, and that’s something to work towards in 2019.
3. Sometimes, a challenge is better left unaccepted
A dress that changes color, a badly drawn frog, and a picture of a rather suspicious looking Shiba Inu — we all know the internet is home to some… odd… things. But the internet challenges of 2018 were some of the weirdest. Whether they were annoying, peculiar, or actual health hazards, they definitely took the internet by storm and saw (too) many people jumping on the bandwagon. The wackiest ones of the lot though — the Tide Pod challenge and the Kiki Challenge — really got me wondering; why in the world are people putting themselves through this nonsense just to get a few likes on Instagram?! Here’s hoping that in 2019, we’re all a little bit wiser, and don’t fall for silly internet challenges just for the heck of it.
4. Check before you leave the toilet
The mild pang of anxiety one feels while walking out after using the toilet might be familiar to all of us. Checking if your fly is down, shirt is tucked in, and such, is something that all of us probably do once we head out of the stall. But a moment in US history — where President Donald J. Trump boarded the Air Force One, seemingly with a piece of toilet paper stuck to his shoe — was a humbling reminder for all of us. So thank you, Donald, for taking one for the team. Now, we’re going to double check that we don’t have any paper appendages hanging off us the next time we’re leaving the loo.
5. We need to come together and create an environment where survivors don’t feel the need to hide anymore.
2018 saw the #MeToo movement gaining even more momentum globally, while also seeing a slew of prominent stars and celebrities being outed for instances of sexual harassment and assault (also called the #TimesUp movement). By bringing individual cases of assault into the limelight, the movement called out the power structures in society that make silencing victims of assault that much easier. The result? It sparked a growing awareness among people about assault, and the power of coming together to fight it. This change in our social climate is exactly the thing we need; we must continue to create a safe environment that has no room for sexual assault in 2019.
Now I know these instances barely begin to cover all that happened in 2018. And I bet there’s a lot more in there that we can learn from… so go on — look back, introspect, and learn! And if you find something else, drop a comment!
Kavya can be quite the oddball—from her taste in music to how she chooses to dress. She is a lover of all puns and dry absurdist humour, and her existential angst goes out the window when she’s hanging out with her dog. Follow her on instagram (__K.jpg), she promises to keep you entertained!