by Joan Sloane.
When I was asked to be a guest blogger, I was at first discouraged; so much happens every day to make our yesterday insignificant that it would be impossible to write about anything revelatory or timely. What could we talk about when there’s a new calamity in each 24 hour cycle?
How perfect to open my mailbox a couple weeks ago and find Time magazine’s issue, “The Optimist,” edited by Time’s first-ever guest editor, Bill Gates. He invited some people whom he respects to share what makes them optimistic, for a “crash course in why and how the world is improving.”
Dan Harris’ “Meditation Can Help in the Era of Angry Politics” is a light introduction to a time-honored practice. “A consistent meditation practice can help you know your biases…Next thing you know, you’re refraining from nasty tweets and even having civil conversations with your uncle.” I can personally vouch for meditation and hope to become a better practitioner; it does help calm the inner beast.
Warren Buffet touts “The Genius of America,” explaining how far our nation has come, due to “innovation and productivity,” just in his lifetime. It is a powerful read about the economic greatness and many disparities of our market system, but Buffet believes “a rich family takes care of all of its children…We must not settle for less.”
Laurene Powell Jobs, founder and president of Emerson Collective, writes about undocumented immigrants. Through the Collective’s support, the French artist, JR’s, “Inside Out/Dreamers,” is touring the country with a closer look at DACA lives and is a hoping for “a simple shift in perspective.” Mayra’s inspiring DACA story, retold here, might shift everyone’s.
Ava DuVernay, director and Oscar nominee (Selma, 13th and the forthcoming Wrinkle in Time), talks about what gives her hope and the present piece of our history. Any of us who study history, know that it only takes time to change things; she says, “Hope has bred change again and again. To be hopeless is to disregard history.”
Many contributors wrote about women. Not just about the #me too movement, but about the myriad global obstacles that have to do with making women and girls less. In “Why Men Must Also Fight for Women and Girls,” Bono’s daughter, Jordan, tells him, “there is nowhere on earth where women have the same opportunity as men. Nowhere.” Bono states, “Denying girls an education…is why poverty is sexist….closing the gender gap in education could generate $112 billion to $152 billion per year for the economies of developing countries.”
In Melinda Gates’ “From Mad Men to Marching Women,” she reiterates that 2017 “has been a painful reminder that when men hold most of the power it’s all too easy for them to abuse it…it’s easy to dismiss the whispers of one woman. It’s much harder to ignore a movement.”
And, “Who Runs the World? Girls!” by Malala Yousafzai; this young survivor travels the globe to foster education for girls in the third world through her Malala Fund. When asked about hopelessness, she said, “I think it’s pointless to be hopeless. If you are hopeless, you waste your present and future.”
A greatly moving piece in the magazine is “Necessary Trouble,” by John Lewis, longtime civil rights leader and congressman from Georgia. He speaks about growing up in a segregated South, yet lauds the changes that have taken place in the past “50 or 60 years.” His remembrance of Dr. King is vibrant: “I never in my years around him saw him down. Never saw him hostile or mean to a single person.” Imagine. Lewis ends by saying, “you have to be hopeful…If not, you will get lost in despair.”
There are so many great articles in this issue of Time: Time’s Nancy Gibbs sat down with Bill Gates for a Q & A called “Hope by the Numbers;” “The Thing About Millennials,” by Trevor Noah; “Beauty in the Machine,” by Lili Cheng; “Closer to a Cure,” by Samantha Budd Haeberlein…plus spotlight articles about doctors, teachers, scientists and an Ebola survivor. Too many to talk about here. All about hope.
So far, for me, this new and shiny 2018 is filled with hope, and I’m going to try, every day, to care deeply, stay positive, and be grateful and humble.