By Emy Brubacher
Recently I have been a little shocked to witness my FaceBook and Twitter feeds being inundated with “good riddance’s” to 2016. Apparently, many look back on 2016 as a horrible or depressing year; social media has dubbed it “officially the worst year in the history of the universe”. They are pining for the start of 2017; eagerly anticipating a fresh start and the dawn of a more peaceful and stable life.
Now I am not totally in the dark, I realize we lost a number of famous celebrities in the past year; Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, George Michael, Prince, David Bowie and Gordie Howe to name a few. A dramatic American election has left many people uncertain and fearful of the future. Violence in Syria, shootings in Orlando, terrorism in Nice, Harambe’s killing, and Zika invasions, have added their tragic nuance to the year.
And I am sure many people experienced loss, emotional difficulty, illness, or misfortune on a personal level. Loved ones passing away, jobs lost, relationships broken; it can be easily assumed that not one of us has been touched by adversity in the past 12 months.
But if we look back on years past and sought out the negative, would not every year be filled with iconic people passing away, violence, political drama, disease, and personal strife? What makes this year seem so much worse?
Could it simply seem worse because we are now more connected than ever and are continuously stream fed through our little screens a litany of the horrors surrounding us.
Or possibly, like so many “trends” on social media, one persons’ grumble about a crummy year has sparked a wild fire. Someone posts about how horrible 2016 has been, a few more jump on the band wagon – because you always have those who just like to complain – and soon these nay-sayers are influencing our thought patterns. Framing our perspective and turning our focus to seeking out all the calamities and trials that would support “why” it was a bad year. Even I can admit, when I first starting noticing the “so long 2016, you won’t be missed” posts, I began googling all the bad things that happened this year.
And then I stopped myself. This is exactly how you feed the “worst year ever” syndrome. It all comes down to what you focus on. If you go back over the same time period, child mortality rates have decreased, Ebola has been eradicated in Africa, refugees have been embraced, world hunger has reached a 25-year low, and the world tiger count rose for the first time in 100 years (go ahead, google more highlights of 2016).
Children have been born, new relationships flourished, knowledge and wisdom gained, skills mastered, and novel adventures experienced. You have probably smiled, laughed, danced, or had you heart warmed. I know I have witnessed people continuing to care about our earth and each other; helping and supporting their fellow man.
Still think 2016 was so bad?
And instead of anticipating 2017 as redemption, why not focus on today? We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, so stop and realize what you have in this moment. What makes your “here and now” great?