Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016: The Suckiest Year Ever

I think pretty much everyone agrees that 2016 has been a horrible year. There was that extremely ugly presidential campaign that resulted in a President-elect who is unqualified, morally bankrupt, and emotionally immature. That alone is enough to brand it "the suckiest year ever" but I think the thing that really bums out most of us is the seemingly unusual number of celebrity deaths.

The passing of Carrie Fisher seems especially cruel to me. I first read on Twitter that she had had a heart attack, then several hours later that she was "in stable condition". So I relaxed a little bit and thought, "She's probably going to be okay." But she wasn't. And then, just a couple of days later, her mother, Debbie Reynolds. And there are still two days left in 2016. Frankly, I'm a little bit scared.

Will 2017 be any better? That's what everyone always hopes and I see a lot of hopeful comments and memes on social media but I just keep thinking, calendar years are completely arbitrary. The Earth travels around the Sun without a beginning or end point. We could just as well start the year on the Winter solstice or the Spring equinox or any random day. And, in fact, there are other calendars besides the one we use. So why should beloved celebrities stop dying just because we say 2016 is over?

Even though it's arbitrary, I do think it's good for us, psychologically, to have a sense of starting over. In my family we have never really celebrated the New Year. We go to bed at our normal time on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day is just the day when we get to start a new calendar. But there is still a little bit of that feeling of starting anew. The Christmas season is really and truly behind us and we can concentrate on new things and look forward to spring and summer.

Up to a point, each year is what we make it but we don't have any control over what happens in the world, who dies, who gets elected, what natural disasters happen and so on. For me, personally, 2016 wasn't bad at all and I expect 2017 will be pretty much the same. But I don't have much hope for the world outside my gate being anything but worse.

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