Teun

@teunvanson

Writing is hard. #100days

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15.

Happy new year! Fireworks used to be a very big thing for me. As in, as a teenager I spent hundreds of euros each year on fireworks, to burn through on a single day and night, on the 31st of December. I really loved it. Actually, I think that the pre-fun (voorpret, a very underrated Dutch word) was much bigger for me than the actual fun. I used to spend months looking at videos, checking out fireworks catalogues, and making lists of stuff I want. I had a blast just anticipating the last day of the year. The day itself, in comparison, was never as fun as the preparation was. I mean, when you anticipate a day so much, how can it really live up to expectations? When you spend hundreds of euros and many hours of preparation on something, it can never be as satisfying as you want. Still, I loved it.

Now I've kicked the habit, I spend my money on more sensible things (or so I tell myself), and I'm ever more ambivalent towards fireworks in general. In the Netherlands, there are (political) parties that want to ban consumer fireworks completely. And to be honest, I can see why. Every year, they cause dozens of accidents. Eye clinics always run overtime on the night from the 31st to the 1st. Pets are generally terrified of the sounds. And I'm not sure how bad it is for the environment, but it can't be good. Do these harms outweigh the benefits? That's not easy to say. Does fun for thousands of people weigh up against a couple of horrible injuries? You might as well ask the same question about cars. Does driving faster weigh up against the extra deaths that it causes? Even for people whose job is to think about these kinds of questions, I don't think it's easy to answer those questions. Generally speaking, I'd say that reducing harm is a good that should be prioritized. In the fireworks case, what makes this position even stronger is the fact that about half of all injuries are suffered by bystanders. So it's not even always the people who do stupid stuff that suffer the consequences. Rather, it's regular people who suffer from the idiocy of others, who happen to have access to dangerous explosives. But on the other hand, there's plenty of dangerous things we do (like driving) that we would never think of making illegal.

Anyways, I had a blast this year, without fireworks. Cheesily enough, having friends and family around is much more important. And this day isn't so significant anyways. It used to be the most significant day of the year for me. But now, I still have a deadline on the 2nd of February. These things don't care about year borders. So I won't either. I'll continue writing about love instead.

Oh, as for new year's resolutions, I don't really do that kind of stuff. But it is a good time to remind myself of what really matters to me. So I hereby will try to make 2020 a year of love, kindness, warmth, understanding, and forgiveness. Oh, and honesty. That's it, I think! Cheers.


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