As a sort of ode to last year's me, I wanted to start a blog this year called the Good News. It's sole purpose is to basically steal the spotlight from the typical miserable news stories, making it atypical news.
The news stories of last year were... eventful, should we say? There was so much gloom and doom casting shadows on our morning teas and coffees. As a nation, we owe it to ourselves to keep things a little cheerier this year.
On January 2, 2019, I opened up Facebook to see some of the best news that I think I am going to see all year, and I welcome anyone to challenge me on that. Ireland finally legalised abortion. With 66 percent of people who voted in the referendum voting for an amendment in the Constitution that stated abortions were to be illegal unless in extreme circumstances. The act now authorises women to terminate a pregnancy up to 12 weeks, or have an abortion in circumstances which implement risk to the mother or the baby. 3,000 women were helped by one singular organisation last year to travel from Ireland into the UK for abortions. That's one organisation. The amount this number will decrease is massive, along with the amount of women who were unable to make decisions regarding their body without the judgement of their government.
This, among other news so far this year, has made me increasingly optimistic for what this year has in store and what things we fought for last year will make a difference. I think for me, that's the best part of a new year. Not your personal goals—like weight loss plans and quitting smoking—the changes we make together as a nation, as a planet.
The second news story that just made me smile from my lips to my eyes was the news about Cyntoia Brown; (for those who don't know) she is a woman who was sex trafficked by a man from the age of 16 and was later imprisoned for his murder. The amazing news about this powerful young woman is that she was granted clemency. Upon appeal, Cyntoia will be released under parole supervision in the early weeks of August, after having been imprisoned for 16 years—most of her adolescent life. It is a beautiful ending to such a tragic case and I am a genuine believer that justice has been served. The girl was punished for her "mistake," rightfully or wrongfully who can be the judge, but at least fairly.
The best news I've heard regarding the UK on the other hand is the NHS's plans to put £2.3 billion into mental health services. By 2023, the UK NHS wants £20 billion a year to be going into the mental health budget. I don't think anyone can even anticipate the difference this will have on us as a nation with one in four people suffering from mental health issues. The money, time, resources, and investment is so beyond worth it—not to mention, the result will be priceless. They are aiming to do all sorts of things that only a few months ago could have seemed so futuristic to some, with plans to improve medication beyond a level anyone could have suggested, and hoping to tailor the prescriptions to be more suitable for the individual; rather than the diagnosis.
Of course, there is plenty of time and space to appreciate the individual's making massive impacts for massive amounts of people. Like the creator of Fortnite Tim Sweeny buying out entire forests to prevent deforestation. While people are banning adverts against palm oil production for being "too political," it is so important for people to hear about people doing this great acts of kindness, too.
We can't forget the slightly smaller acts that will have the bigger impacts, like the bar in Nebraska that leaves notes on cars that are left in their car parked overnight. The notes basically say thank you for not drinking and driving, life is priceless, and to exchange this for a burger and some fries.
Everyone seems so quick to fill our minds with propaganda about Theresa May or pander to Brexit riots on Facebook every waking minute of everyday. Aren't you tired? Isn't your mind physically exhausted from putting so much energy into things you have no control over? Just take a step back. Breathe. Make yourself a coffee. And read the good news.