2015 was a very memorable year for a lot of reasons. On a world stage we have an unprecedented number of refugees across the world, taking to small boats and risking everything to reach relative safety. Watching from the sidelines I have felt pretty helpless. My heart goes out to these people, and I have no sympathy or understanding for those who would keep them out or turn them away, but even so, there is so little I can do. All I can do is send money to charities working with them, and hope for the best. I admire those of our leaders who react in an humane way, giving positive help where they can, and even more so the way regular citizens of all countries have done their best to bring practical real help to the refugees in their camps or transit areas. I wish I could do more, but I feel that I would not be much help in the field, and so I send another donation.
The war in Syria seems to be never ending, and the terror bought to Europe by Isis also seems to be never ending. They seek to bring fear and chaos and that is what they have achieved. People with Islamic sounding names, or who were born long ago in Syria have their visas cancelled to the US or Australia. People fear to travel in case another bomb goes up, art projects and unattended luggage gets blown up at railway station out of fear of bombs. People verbally or physically attack Muslims. Isis have achieved their aim, and that makes me very sad and also worried for the future. It is as if we as humanity have not progressed at all, nor learned from the past. Fear is making our politics and dictating our lives, and no decision based on fear is a right decision.
The weather this year has been incredible in Central Europe. Sunshine all the way, lack of rain and no snow for Christmas. Not so great however if you live in Northern England where it has rained and rained and the people are washed out of their homes again. Global warming is at work, and I really hope that something concrete and sustainable will come out of the Paris agreement. I did demonstrate under the guise of an Avaaz and WWF rally in Bern, as did millions around the world. We did our small part, and replaced some tungsten bulbs with led. I drive less and use the train most of the time. We consume in a conscious manner, conscious of the planet, and the conditions of production. In the long term however, or maybe the short term, I think we really need to change fundamentally the capitalist nature of our society. We all need to consume less, recycle more and work fewer hours. Robotics will do more, and we can work less, do more job share, work from home, have a guaranteed income that allows us to do what we have passion to do. If we can learn to do more with less, and businesses can move away from growth every year, more profit and shareholder satisfaction, to a more humanistic approach where we do not all need so much money in order to buy more and more products we do not need, then we can make a difference.
On a personal level I have just reviewed my blog, and see that I managed to achieve my 3 aims from the beginning of the year. Okay I did not finish the German course, as the move got in the way, but I learned a bit. But goal 2 and 3 was met in one hit with the move back to Switzerland. I increased my pay and reduced my outgoings, plus I left a job that was total stress for one that is not. I left a life of work work work, for one where I have time to meet my friends, read a book, and breathe. It is hugely better, but not perfect. Working with the Chinese continues to bring its own challenges, plus one daughter stayed behind in Germany, where we also did have some good friends. It is not possible to have everything in life, it cannot all be perfect, but I think for 2016 I am going to focus on those things I can do and can change in order to make it a bit more perfect for me. Maybe this is selfish in light of all those suffering around the world to have any form of life, but being unselfish in this is not going to help them.
Every year I get older, this coming year I will turn 55 years of age, which I do not like to think of as old of course, but admit that it is no longer young either. 10 more years of work, max, and then I will be retired. 10 years really does not sound long, but I am not one to put off to the future what I could do now. Who knows what the future will bring. My father died at 67 years of age, too young, and not what I want for me. Life is too short to drink bad wine, and there comes a point when we have to stop drinking the cheap stuff or putting up with the same old sh*t as before, and instead to learn to look for quality and meaning in life. For me 2016 is going to be that year. 🙂
I look forward to another year of blogging, and wish you all a Guten Rutsch.