Ignite the Eucatastrophe of 2018

Ignite the Eucatastrophe of 2018

One of my favorite things the internet does at the end of the year is bitch about that year. "Let the moon from Majora's Mask crash into the Earth because that's how 2017 should end!" Can a year be that terrible across the board? Someone had a good year somewhere, right?

That being said, yeah, 2017 kinda sucked. I'll stay away from diving down the political landscape sinkhole that is 2017, and stick more to personal things.

I moved to Tennessee. Luckily, the reason I did is going really well. I get to have a normal relationship with my girlfriend after a year of long distance. It's amazing. And that's where the good news ends, well, at least, when I'm at my most cynical.

My apartment has been the dump of dumps. Bedbugs were coming from other residents across the wall that I get to pay for. Brown Recluse spiders every damn day. A heavy smoker above me that makes my non-smoker life reek of ash. At best, all the appliances kind of work.

I'm thankful to have a full-time job. I'm not thankful for how little corporations care for their workers. Even in a smaller company like mine, I'm just a number. Oh, you do the job of three different roles because we cut corners everywhere? No, you aren't getting a raise. Don't like it? Quit.

My car also decided to get me to Tennessee, thankfully, then promptly die. After a few transmission scares, it finally decided to stop moving forward...kind of a key feature of most cars.

There's more, like my girlfriend losing her job and us both desperately missing friends and family back in California, but, hell, I'm glad you made it this far through a very depressing first few paragraphs.

majora moon Zelda

*Suck on this, 2017

That's just the thing. Sometimes we encounter depressing things all around us, and we just want them to be over with. We want the next chapter. Then that part is depressing too. We hope for something more uplifting soon. When that is your life, day in and day out, it can be a cold battle.

Transitions are important to us. The new year means new beginnings. It's hard to avoid. Humans like categorizing things. Nothing is different from the end of 2017 to the beginning of 2018. When you really think about it, those bills are still due, the projects still need to get done, you go home to the same cold house, and you head back out to the same shitty job. Welcome to 2018.

Enter the eucatastrophe.

The term eucatastrophe was coined by none other than J.R.R. Tolkien himself. Essentially, it means something that suddenly goes right, when all things are pointing to a very probable, disastrous ending. It's the sun rising after a long, dark night. Little eucatastrophes happen every twenty-four hours.

Think about Lord of the Rings. The eagles save the heroes about 15 times, it seems. Rohan is a close second, riding in when the battle looked like all was lost. There are many small moments mixed into the story. Frodo stabbed by a Nazgul, turning into a wraith, broken by the power of the Elves in Rivendell. Frodo bitten by a spider, almost as big as the ones in my apartment, the journey near destruction at that moment, until Sam takes the ring, determined to go to Mt. Doom alone if he has to. Over and over it appears in Tolkien's saga.

Why?

Tolkien fought in the first World War. He sat in those disease filled, hopeless trenches, watching his friends die with little hope that tomorrow would be any different. You would need Wonder Woman herself to take victory across No Man's Land. Absolutely, someone experiencing that would weave the bleakest of battles into his narrative with that last minute revival of hope.

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That's what 2018 needs: a revival of hope.

There has been a cry for it in 2017 like I've never seen before. Or maybe I focus on it because it's what I relate to. Think of the media that came out all year, even the geekiest of things had a desperate plea for hope in the storytelling.

The Last Jedi revolved around sparking the hope of old. Blade Runner 2049 made us realize that we are more than we think. Logan brought us down into the dirt of a lost legacy to ignite a new generation. Video games didn't avoid this either. Breath of the Wild brings a hero through failure, yet is the last hope for a kingdom. Horizon Zero Dawn has a protagonist who is an outcast and unwanted from her birth, yet the world needs her as much as she needs a cause.

I could go on and on; you probably have a few of your favorite from the year too. You felt the hope those stories brought and the need for that hope in your year.

Yet, here we are in 2018. Where is the horse and the rider? Rohan isn't answering our call for aid.

There's one more theme in all this media that I failed mentioned. The eucatastrophe doesn't come at the last moment for these heroes; most of which are nobodies, no one special, and would be of no great importance.

Until they become the eucatastrophe.

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You aren't sitting in a trench with No Man's Land barren in front of you. You haven't been defeated. The count isn't up yet. You may think you are no one. You may think you are just a cog in the wheel. You get depressed thinking how small you are. Good. The most powerful eucatastrophes come from those least likely to cause it.

Look at my own bitching earlier. It looks like it's time to move and learn how to get a better place to live. Time to make new friends while reconnecting more with the ones I have back home, we have the technology! Be thankful for the ability to get a new car, and though payments are tight, I can do it.

I'm not stuck at my job. The barriers are the mental ones I place myself. Corporations don't tell me what I'm worth; I let them know when I leave for a better job.

I am my own eucatastrophe, and so are you.

So, 2018 will be filled with new resolutions, new chances, and new stories because that's what we humans love. We love taking advantage of transitions. It may just be an arbitrary date on the calendar. So what? What better time than now? Ignite your eucatastrophe.

Like me, look at your own problems and take control. You only are as limited as you allow yourself to be. Vote, go outside your comfort zone and confront the change that needs to happen. Sitting back and waiting for someone to save you isn't what 2018 will be about. You are the someone that brings change, if for no one else, than for you.

Ride now! Ride now! Ride for you, and the new dawn.


Header art by John Howe. He's pretty awesome, huh? Here's more!

Follow Chris on Twitter: @chrismlaporte

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