2016 is Not the Worst Year Ever

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Over the last couple of days, there has been a lot of chatter about how much 2016 sucks and how much people are looking forward to it being over.  Tell the truth, I’m a little tired of hearing all the whining.  And there’s a potential dark side to it all.

First, can it objectively be true that this year is the worst year ever or even that it “sucks”.  Based on what?  Celebrity deaths?  World events?  Some combination?  Forgive me, but this next section is going to sound a little crass but in order to objectively measure the suckiness of a year, you’d have to come up with some scoring system for celebrity deaths.  A sheer number wouldn’t be enough because you’d have to factor in some measure of fame given that a year where more famous people die tends to be considered worse.  Then, you might need to factor in age and some measure of the shock effect.  Losing a 94 year old Abe Vigoda is a loss but in some ways it really shouldn’t be much of a shock and might be scored differently than losing a 53 year old George Michael.  Of course, you might have to factor in personal life style issues that could contribute to a death.  But, then, you might have to factor in personal taste because musicians/actors/sports figures are going to mean different things to different people.  So my worst year could be different than yours.

OK, the above paragraph was a bit ridiculous and that was by design.  There is no way to objectively measure the combined impact of celebrity deaths over a year so it just comes down to people saying it and others believing it and jumping on the bandwagon.

Personally, I think a lot of the “2106 sucks” crowd are people who are still going through the various stages of grief because their candidate didn’t win the last election.  And, also because most of them probably believe the absolute worst about the guy who won and think the country has seriously gone off the rails.  (Of course, if you really believe that, then 2017 isn’t going to be any better but that’s another story).  I’m not hear to rehash the election.  I didn’t vote for the guy and I have concerns but I’m not falling down the deep dark hole that some people have.

I do think there is a real danger in repeating this mantra that 2016 sucks because it sets you up for a false hope that 2017 will be better.  Not saying it won’t be but there are no guarantees.  You are putting your faith in an arbitrary decision to start the year on a certain date that was made a long time ago for who knows what reason.  There is no magic in turning the page and adding one to the year.

Again, not wanting to sound grim or course but people are born and die every day.  It is certain that someone famous will die in January and maybe in the first week of the year.  If you’ve allowed yourself to believe that things will magically be different because it is 2017, and someone important to you dies, then won’t your first thought be “oh, this year is just going to suck like 2016”.  Then, from the first part of the year, you’ve set yourself to be unhappy the entire year thinking that it is going to suck.

I can be talked into a lot of things but believing that a year “sucks” is beyond me.  The calendar has no real control over things.  There are good and bad events that happen in every year.  If you go around thinking that a particular year is cursed or bad, then you are naturally going to find things to complain about and things to reinforce your perception that a given year sucks.  And the thing is that almost all of those events will be things you have no control over so getting into a dark place thinking that a year is cursed because things happen that you couldn’t change is not a good place to be.

Look, I’m no stranger to going to dark places.  I sometimes find it interesting to go into the depths and explore what I’m feeling.  But I can also find the beauty and awe in every day events.  Not everything sucks.  You sometimes have to look hard to find the good in among the bad but it is there.

Does 2016 suck?  No.  Some bad things have happened and some famous people have died like every other year.   But the Cubs won the World Series for the first time in over 100 years.  You just have to look on the bright side of life.


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