“In my life, I keep track of the worst years on record on the wrinkles on my face.
The same face where I keep track of the best years on record of my life.
My face, as you can imagine, is getting pretty darn wrinkly!”
Oh, I know so many of us want to believe it to be true. But, it is far from true.
2016 may have been a lot of things but it isn’t and, for those in my time zone, won’t be the worst year on record.
Sure, I imagine it can feel like it. After all, Carrie Fisher did die, as did her Mom. So, too, did the creator of the red solo cup
That people die at some point in their lives is not a phenomenon unique to 2016. Maybe it feels like it is.
We had an election in 2016. Again, not a new thing.
Now, if you believe the victory of Donald Trump or the defeat of Hillary Clinton is the worst thing to ever happen in the history of the world – I am here to tell you: It’s not.
From the beginning of this year to the end of this year I have heard a constant stream of “This is the worst year…ever!”
Nope. Not true. Not even close.
Are there things that are likely the worst on record in 2016? Absolutely.
So, let me just state, without equivocation that 2016 was not, and will not be, the worst year on record.
I could spend hours finding examples of how it is not true on internet search engines.
Yes, those same search engines that we all go to for our proof that 2016 was the worst year on record.
The same search engines on the same internet that allows so much information to flow – both true and false – that it has become virtually impossible to parse the good from the bad.
I know it suits our own individual narratives to find the years which are the worst years on record. To be honest, in my 53 years on this planet I can’t remember what I would consider to be my worst year on record.
I insist on telling my children to remember that the moment in time they, and I, live in is not profoundly different in many ways than the times their grandparents – and their grandparents – and those before them – lived in.
I don’t want my kids to not think they are unique and different. They most certainly are.
Nor do I want to give off the impression that the time and era they live in and will continue to live in will not be unique and different.
It is and most certainly will be.
However, if we allow things not true to be seen as true there is nothing to be gained from the past that will help our future.
The past though isn’t a year ago. Or five years ago.
The past isn’t what happened from the day you were born until the day you are spent reading this sentence.
The past took place a long, long time ago in a galaxy…. well, you get my point.
2016 will end and, God willing, another year will begin.
I don’t plan on reliving 2016 in 2017.
There’s too much to do and experience in the year ahead.
Dwelling on 2016 as a year that never was what so many people are trying to tell me it is serves no useful purpose.
It won’t help me try to find ways to help more families with sick and injured kids in the hospital with housing grants.
It won’t give me the incentive I need to get myself back on my fitness track.
It won’t give my kids the perspective they need on how to live and make a difference in the world they will live in tomorrow and every day after that.
Celebrate the end of 2016, I say.
But, embrace the beginning of 2017.
Find a way to give back. Volunteer for something.
Pick up the phone and call somebody you haven’t talk to for longer than you can remember.
Repair a broken friendship. Get to the dentist. Run for office.
Take a risk.
If you want to revel in 2016 as a time and place that the world began to unravel at its seams that’s your right. Just do me a favor and don’t spend any time trying to convince me that it is and it was.
As for me, rather than lament that 2016 was the worst year on record I intend to do everything I can to make 2017 the best year ever.