“Nowhere to go, nothing to do; just be.” I want to slow down and relax, but try as I might to ignore the state of our country (I’ve given up listening to NPR, reading the New Yorker, and even watching John Oliver and Stephen Colbert), I’m afraid relaxation is a luxury we cannot afford at this moment. A climate skeptic/fossil-fuel promoter as the head of the EPA? An Exxon Mobil CEO for Secretary of State? A neurosurgeon to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development? I know Americans wanted to shake things up, but this is getting crazier by the minute. I’m trying so hard to stay grounded, but I’m mad – and it takes a lot to make me mad.

I’ve voted in seven elections in my lifetime. In two of the seven, my candidate won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College vote. This time she won by an estimated 2.8 million votes, but lost to a man who even many Republicans have characterized as dangerous and unqualified. The Electoral College has its purpose. Ironically, because of the way Electoral College votes are distributed, we find ourselves in the very situation the Electoral College was meant to protect us from. As Alexander Hamilton explained in The Federalist Papers, a primary reason for adding this layer to our voting system was to ensure “that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications” and protect against “the desire of foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils . . . by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union.” Hmmm…

I so desperately want to just go about my life pretending nothing is wrong. I want to enjoy the holidays with my wonderful family, make plans for 2017, and celebrate all of our blessings. But for the first time in my life, I’m not excited about the new year. Maybe that’s the real reason I want to slow down…to postpone the inevitable and push January 20th off as long as possible…I’m pretty sure it won’t work. Kicking into action might be a better choice. So instead of hibernating, I’m going to propose a toast to 2017: May we use this winter to gather strength for the spring when we will paint our own silver lining with broad strokes of benevolent gumption!

Written and photographed by Natasha Juliana. Edited by Linda Jay.