2016 in Review

I’ve been hearing a lot of negatives about 2016. You know what, it’s easy to sit back and think about the negative things that have happened in the past year.

  • Something called Zika achieved outbreak status.
  • The United States went through one of the most negative presidential elections in its 240 year history, the ramifications of which we’ll deal with for years to come. I don’t say that as a reflection of who won. I believe there would have been ramifications on either side.
  • We mourned the passing of a seemingly above average number of celebrities: David Bowie, Prince, Gene Wilder, and Carrie Fisher… just to name a few.
  • We discovered that Brexit involved the United Kingdom voting to leave the European Union instead of being a delicious breakfast food of some kind.
  • And there were so many tragedies. Just turn on the news, they’ll be happy to tell you about any one of them.

Here’s the thing… People die all the time. It’s an unfortunate side effect of mortality. And negative events happen every year. Just turn on the news, they’ll be happy to tell you about any one of them. Did 2016 really provide us with more of these sad events? Or has our access to social media simply given us more outlets with which to experience them? Did 2016 really see more celebrity deaths than years past? Or are we, as a culture, just aging to the point where it should be expected that we will see many of our heroes fall?

Please, don’t take the above as me belittling any tragedies that may have happened in the last 12 months, personal or otherwise. That is absolutely not my intent.

But as 2016 comes to a close, why are we so focused on the negatives? Why should we be resigned to just say, “Well, 2016 kicked us in the teeth. Here’s hoping 2017 is better!”? If you end the year on a pessimistic note, what makes you believe the beginning of your next year will be any better? If you had a bad 2016, step it up and make 2017 better.

Personally, I’m ready to focus on some of the positive things that happened in 2016…

  • The Summer Olympics happened. And, say what you will about Brazil’s preparations for the games, things turned out pretty well.
  • We finally saw Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman on the big screen. Together. At the same time. Whether you liked the movie or not is irrelevant. It was a big deal.
  • Tigers, manatees, and pandas are all making a comeback.
  • DiCaprio finally won an Oscar.
  • On a personal note: I started a new job that I absolutely love. Sometimes, I get to the end of my work day and think, “How is this my life now?” And I mean that in the best way.

Look, we’ve all had ups and downs. If we only set our sights on the downs, we would all be beyond depressed. But we have to hold on to the hope that the good will outweigh the bad. And even if you make a pro/con list of 2016 stuff and the cons outnumber the pros, just tear the list in half and throw the cons away. Commit the positives to your memory. Take that with you as we enter 2017.

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