Remembering Revolutionary 2017: Lessons Learned

Revolutionary Past

2017 has been a revolutionary year in many ways—and by “revolutionary” I mean bringing about fundamental changes.

First, we’ve had some outstanding anniversaries, such as:

  • One hundred years of the Bolsheviks’ takeover in Russia—or, as they call it in my birth country, a centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution
  • 150 years of Karl Marx’ Capital (where he concluded that no matter what you do, capitalism is not sustainable and inevitably ends in a catastrophe).
  • 50 years since the death of Che Guevara, the face of revolutions in Latin America
  • 500 years anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Thesis, nailed to the church door—which ultimately led to the Protestant revolution.

These events are nothing short of revolutionary, leaving human society with significant consequences, ideas, values, and costs. What’s the echo in 2017?

Near-Revolutionary Present

This year showed the real rebellious spirit on the rise, for instance:

1. The Americans saw the game-changing president Donald Trump occupy the White House and trump-quake at work.

2. Britain launched its divorce with the EU.

3. Both Russia and China started to challenge the US influence worldwide.

4. The forces of change promoted more women into the top positions, and we saw fresh feminist wave opposing sexual harassment, with #MeToo sweeping many predatory bosses off their chairs. This does resemble a mini-revolution when something’s gotta give.

5. Anti-globalization forces proved strong but not all-mighty because of the young leadership of France’s president Emmanuel Macron and Canada’s prime-minister Justin Trudeau. Many centrists in Germany, Netherlands, and even Austria also embraced the world, remaining open to trade and diverse cultures—which, at this day and time, sounds revolutionary enough.

6. Diversity and Inclusion have been inching forward, despite a flurry of provoked racist and anti-Semitic activities—which served as wake-up calls for all people who always believed that the USA is a true democracy. The counter-revolution of the alt-right met a strong opposition of the united left and middle/center progressivists and conservatives alike. When united, this front can do even better in 2018 and beyond, and the battle to sustain the original American Revolution will be won, again.

Did I Measure Up?

I did my best to measure up to our eventful time, and my ups and downs alternated throughout 2017. Here’s how.

First, the good part. I do count my blessings for my good family and ability to enjoy nature; I prepared and performed the second ever best-attended webinar for SIETAR-Europa (Society for Intercultural Education, Training, and Research) which is now on YouTube; my presentations at SIETAR-Italia in Milan and SIETAR-USA in San Diego brought me new friends and followers; invited to contribute to a post-conference volume in Italy I did so. Not bad, right?

Second, my personal “downs” were not too dramatic—may be because America turned me into a thicker-skinned individual than I’ve been in my youth 😊. Indeed, my progressive publisher returned my book with instructions how to elaborate it, and it took me half a year. There was no way of expressing my stress with tears—because who am I, a crybaby? No way! I did what’s necessary and moved on and felt much better ever since: my new book (about outstanding American immigrant women) will now be better suited for a mass market. This came at a cost but who cares?

Fiona Citkin was partying in New York City, to see off 2017.
Fiona Citkin was partying in New York City, to see off 2017.

Third comes my detached “down-point” – regarding some politicians who make everyday news while dismantling the prowess of the US both on the international arena and at home. This, of course, is a distant, public stress—but it has a way of accumulating and weighing me down. I keep thinking about how to deal with that. Do you?

Let’s tie it all together.

Lessons Learned

Ours is an exciting time to live - and we owe it to ourselves to:

1. Recognize the recurrent revolutionary spirit of our time and attempt to measure up, in our personal and professional lives.

2. Step out of our virtual ivory towers, our closed like-minded communities, and get accustomed to living in a real, broader world.

3. On a very personal level, my best to-do is to practice what my father used to say, “Tunnels end with light, prepare for that.” True to this spirit, I keep summing up the lessons of tougher times—to move on, in 2018. Even though the light may be effectively disguised, it is there! I am a believer that light and openness and speaking up are my top choices to move on.

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