2014 can be summed up with one word, awareness. We saw the unveiling of secrets and the risks that people took to reveal them, perceptions on lifestyles are changing, a reminder of how money can’t buy happiness and the rise of a former super power. Not much is different from what we hear at the end of every year such as celebrity deaths and milestone achievements. But what really stood out for me this year was Russia specifically after the incident with Ukraine. This was the first time in decades that all eyes were one Russia because just like the Cold War, fears of a world war resurfaced.
Earlier this year, Russian forces massed at the Ukrainian borders after political events took place and Russian President Vladimir Putin acted on behalf of “Russian interests.” People have their beliefs and their theories on the truth but that doesn’t matter, the fact is that it was clear Russia was back in the public eye. Weeks went on as sanctions were being placed and threats were being thrown around. My father kept reminding me of how this brought back fears of the Cuban Missile Crisis that happened back in the 60s. The whole world was on the edge of their seats because the invasion of Ukraine was a clear sign that Russian is once again a country to keep an eye on.
Speaking of keeping eyes on people, it was revealed that America had their eyes on everyone and not in a good way. There was a massive security breach by Edward Snowden and others which lead to the leak of secrets that America didn’t want revealed. Fearing for his life for obvious reasons, Snowden left for Russia and is currently living there and will probably be doing so the rest of his life. When this story broke, people saw the measures the American government take in the name of “national security.” Some agree with it and others don’t, whose right I’ll leave up to you but it’s clear now that everyone really is being watched.
Another controversial issue being watched was the march for gay and lesbian rights. This year, more and more states have been overturning or throwing out bans keeping homosexuals from getting married. This is showing the change in people’s mind sets as it pertains towards people views on how they define marriage and the rights of the individuals. There is still some opposition from religious groups and right wing conservatives but it’s clear that they’re slowly becoming the minority on the issue. It’s hard to believe that a decade ago things were completely opposite.
Another thing that’s hard to believe for me personally is the loss of a man that I looked up to for decades and is the reason I wanted to become a writer and enter the field of entertainment, Robin Williams. This man was one of the greatest entertainers of all time ranging from improve, comedic performances, voice acting, etc. He had fans all over the world and had enough money to last several lifetimes so people ask, “Why the hell would you take your own life?” Robin Williams’s suicide made people aware of the sickness that we know as depression and how it attacks the soul. His death is a reminder to everyone that just because a person has success, it doesn’t mean their happy.
2014 had moments of great achievements and moments of great tragedies, and it’s important that we remember these incidents. The events I mentioned up here are just a fraction of what else took place such as the landing of a shuttle on a moving comet or the loss of Malaysia Airplanes. As we enter 2015, let’s not forget just how close we were to almost going into a new world war. That our rights and our liberties are constantly at threat either by foreign and sometimes by domestic individuals. Most of all, let us not forget to appreciate life and live it for what it can be and not for what it is.