I don’t think I recall there ever being a year that was so upsetting to so many. I’ve seen countless memes and posts and videos over the past few weeks and months in which people call out 2016 as being “the absolute worst.” And as hard as I try to be a positive person through and through, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t more than ready for a new year.
I know that 2017 doesn’t come with a promise of being any better. No one knows what the next 365 days have in store for us – on a personal or a global level. There is no magic that will cut off the bad from happening and bestow us with only rainbows and sunshine for the next twelve months to make up for 2016’s extra bad behavior. But new years naturally bring about a feeling of fresh starts, motivation, and positivity, and I think those are exactly the kind of vibes we need right now to lift our spirits and go into 2017 confident and strong.
I’ve written a bit about the feelings of sadness and anxiety that 2016 brought with it for me personally here and here, and plenty of others have shared and continue to share their thoughts on “the worst year ever” with the world.
Amidst all of the chaos and heartbreak though, many good things have happened. I’m not saying it will be easy to look back and immediately reflect on the positives of 2016, as they were so often overshadowed by the negative, but they were there nonetheless.
I’ve rounded up a few lists of the best things to come out of 2016 if you’re needing a pick-me-up:
- The 99 Best Things That Happened in 2016 via Quartz
- 21 Actually Good Things That Happened in 2016 via Fuse
- 107 Good Things That Happened in 2016 Thanks to Pop Culture via Bustle
- A List of Beautiful Things That Happened in 2016 via Huffington Post
- 13 Undeniably Good Things That Happened in 2016 via PBS
- 11 Good Things of 2016 via Mashable
On a more personal note, I’ve spent far too much time over the past few months comparing this year to last year and feeling really down and out – like I haven’t accomplished as much or had as great of a year as I did last year. It’s bollocks, though. I did suffer several more hits in terms of loss and unexpected changes, and certainly cried more tears and felt lower lows than I thought were humanly possible in 2016, but it would be incredibly greedy and absurd of me to say it wasn’t also filled with many great moments and accomplishments.
We kicked ass in making progress on our home, traveled from coast to coast, and saw one of my biggest inspirations in concert. I got to meet up with one of my very best friends for the first time in years, launch a blog series that’s been living in my head for just as long, taken on new challenges at work, grown closer to my family, and finally began turning my dream of a side hustle into a reality.
Since I was old enough to understand them, I’ve been making New Year’s resolutions. Sometimes I stick with them, though most of the time, they slip into oblivion before January comes to an end. And always, with the ringing in of each new year, I’m left wondering, How am I a better person now than I was a year ago?
If 2016 has taught me anything, it’s that every year, every month, every week, every single day is a mixed bag. We can go in with the best intentions, giving it our all, and our every step can backfire. We can go in without a care, without trying in the least, and end up having the best day ever.
Nothing is guaranteed except for this very moment. What kind of resolutions can support that?
And so, this year, instead of listing out goals like, Lose 20 pounds, Save $1,000, Learn to speak French, and Cut out all sugar, I’m going in with intentions like, Be charitable when in a position to do so, Stop and help when it appears someone’s in distress, Donate and recycle what I don’t need, Stay educated on current events, Stand up and speak out for the right things, and Practice gratitude and mindfulness daily.
Because these are the things that matter. These are the resolutions that, one year from now, will have made me a better person. These are the things that, if 2017 ends up being as much of a shitstorm as 2016, will make me feel like I’ve done my part to – in some small way at least – ease the weight and negativity of the death and the destruction and the depression that, even in the best years ever, are there lurking in the corners, waiting to pounce. Anything more is a cherry on top.
So, let’s say it. Let’s scream what we’re all feeling, with every ounce of our being, at the top of our lungs, together:
SO LONG, 2016!
WE WON’T MISS YOU.
WE CAN DO BETTER.
WE MUST DO BETTER.
GO, GO GO!
There. Say it again and again. Louder now! Scream it for as long as you need to. Get angry. Let the tears roll. Until you feel the sweet relief that it’s done and over.
But, my dearest comrades, don’t think, even for one second, that 2017 will be any better, unless we are any better.
Wishing you and yours limitless happiness, health, and prosperity in 2017.