Was 2016 Really So Bad?

We are now into the new year and for some people, that’s a reason to breath a big sigh of relief. I cannot remember a year in recent memory that has been so despised as 2016. In the days leading up to the new year, social media was filled with less-than-loving eulogies to the ending year and pleas that 2017 would arrive as soon as possible. But was it really such a bad year as compared to others?

A big part of this anti-2016 movement was the uptick in high profile celebrity deaths, and I will admit there were quite a few this year. Alan Rickman, Prince, Leonard Cohen, and most recently, Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds. I’ll not begrudge fans of these artists their right to mourn (nor should any decent person), but there is nothing supernatural about it all happening in one year. And to put things into perspective, I’m reminded of a fans reaction to the death of Prince, saying that in the vast, immeasurable history of the human race we got to live in the era where Prince was making music and that’s something to be happy about.

The social media brouhaha over 2016 may have been strengthened by the celebrity deaths, there were plenty of other reasons 2016 was so hated. Terrorist attacks all over the world, civil unrest was rampant, the murder of police officers, murder by police officers, and the year Brexit and Trump proved the world is less accepting than we might have thought.

To anyone affected by any of these events, it’s hard to argue that 2016 was a good year, but it’s all a matter of perspective. 2016 saw some bad things but there were a lot of positives that we should be celebrating as well. And while we can’t ignore the world events that hurt so many people, it’s not selfish to look back at what 2016 gave you personally.

For myself, 2016 may very well represent the single greatest year of my life. While I was troubled by a number of events and had the occasional bad day, they were all outweighed by the handful of amazing, life changing moments I experienced. And 2016 proved to be a good year for me not only for what it gave me but for how it sent me into 2017; more positive and looking forward to the future.

I cannot tell you if 2016 was a good year, that’s for you to decide. But I can tell you that starting today and for the rest of the year, while some things are out of your hands, you can make 2017 a good year for you.

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