Ah, 2016. I feel guilty admitting this, but on a personal level, I’ve got no beef with you.
This was my first year since 2011 with no hospitalizations. My family and friends and pets all survived the year. My husband and stepson and I went on some great trips and adventures, spent lots of just-as-wonderful time chilling in our cozy home, and took full advantage of the new smoothie place that opened down the road. I was fortunate to be able to spend some fun times with friends, to deepen my yoga practice, read some good books, to make more animal collages just when you thought I’d already made all the animal collages, to Just Dance a worn spot into the living room rug, to write a little bit and to press a button and zap some of my words out there into the wide, scary, judgmental world. Even work improved, as I continued to learn and improve in my job and some talented new people joined our department.
But, of course, 2016 is much bigger than me. It was a really tough year for a lot of people, and my heart goes out to them. On a macro level, it was a year of great losses, and unfortunately, I don’t foresee a 180-degree shift in fortunes happening at the stroke of midnight.
As a culture, we lost a lot of celebrities, some unexpectedly, some who were role models or personal sources of inspiration and admiration. And although these were people we probably never met (and never thought we would meet), their voices and music and art and words enriched our lives, and we’d expected they would co-exist with us on this planet longer than they did.
Then there was the year in politics. There’s nothing I can write about the 2016 election that hasn’t already been said. However, to my knowledge, it has yet to be accurately represented in collage form. That, I can attempt:
Brace yourselves and keep hanging on, because it’s likely that 2017 is going to make 2016 look like the good ole days. I hope I’m wrong, but I’ll be pleasantly surprised if, by this time next year, my hometown isn’t underwater, our LGBTQ friends can still legally marry, freedom of speech and religion still exist, women and people of color still have the vote, and the poor aren’t being roasted alive, garnished with truffle shavings and gold flakes, and served at five-star restaurants to the One Percenters.
Congratulations on surviving 2016. This year may have robbed us of our dreams and our faith in humanity, but it also tested our resiliency and toughened us up. Keep your chin up, keep showing compassion to each other, and keep working toward a peaceful, loving, fair, sane future where we can tell our grandchildren tales of this crazy year, and it will be so far outside of their experiences and their comprehension that they will laugh and shake their heads and think that, surely, we must be exaggerating. Or possibly senile.