This year was perhaps the most depressing one I can remember. Despite the fact that my personal situation didn't deteriorate (a small victory), world events and my research into the variables affecting the future of humanity made it clear that life will get a lot worse for everyone without some extreme changes to the way we live – changes that are extremely unlikely.
The focus for many people was on the huge wealth disparity caused by economic and political systems designed to concentrate and maximize personal power. Open rebellion surfaced in several countries, including my own, and those who have benefited the most from those systems predictably fought back. Redistributing wealth – the economic manifestation of power – and making politics more egalitarian (the essence of U.S. government, which has been corrupted here) may be the ultimate result if the disenfranchised get their way, but unless we reduce the overall ecological footprint of humanity in the process, their gain will be short-lived.
Feeling like there was unlikely to be a future worth being part of, stress overwhelmed me for several months this year. Rightly or wrongly, I dealt with it by attempting to live a normal life – normal for my particular socio-economic reality. Replacing and refurbishing the things and conditions in my life that were wearing out felt like binging, which I continued right through the holidays. I composed music that applied to normal situations, as opposed to the pieces created earlier as background for my apocalyptic visions (such as the subject of my novel "Lights Out"). My writing about the subjects that had preoccupied me suffered along the way, though I did keep up my reading, which in some respects was even more depressing.
I'm trying to get a better handle on visualizing and helping to create a future I can feel good about, and then share the results with others who are having similar problems and reactions. As a minimum, I've become better equipped to get to know the other creatures we share the planet with, which will be more healthy and informative. My writing over the coming year should reflect a more hopeful view of the world, where I will also share the results of my experiences. The year will, of course, be dominated by politics, and I expect to have a lot to say about that as well.