Princess Leia died today. Well, Carrie Fisher, the actress who played her, did. That news sucks. We’re in the middle of a Star Wars resurgence (still-surgence?). The franchise has never been more popular than it is today. Episode VIII is pretty much guaranteed to be the highest grossing movie of all time now. Fisher living to continue to contribute to and celebrate the future of Star Wars would have been amazing. Maybe that hypothetical never becoming a reality is why people are saying “Fuck 2016.”
Or maybe it’s because they’re fucking idiots.
I know that statement is harsh. I needed to get your attention because of how short-sighted and narcissistic is it to repeat that mantra every time something you don’t like happens. Guess what? Bad shit happens all over the world every day, and most of it has nothing to do with you.
You’re sad that Carrie Fisher, Antonin Scalia, Muhammed Ali, and/or Prince died? Good, be sad. They were awesome people who did awesome things. But then go look at the list of celebrities who died in 2015…and 2014…and 2013. Then look around you and recognize that a lot of people lost someone this year. In January Jeff Call was left to die in the middle of the street on a cold January night by a hit-and-run driver. Do you think he used his last breath to curse 2016 at the sky like if it were still 2015 the kid who hit him would’ve stopped and helped him instead?
You’re angry that Donald Trump was elected President of the United States of America? Good, be angry. That feeling means you care about something. But then go look at who was upset about the election of Barack Obama…and the election of George W. Bush…and the election of Bill Clinton. Then look around the world and recognize that a lot worse happened in other countries’ election. In Japan they voted to amend their Constitution to move back toward fascism. Did each of the voters there whisper condemnations of 2016 under their breath to emphasize their desire to return to an earlier time in their history?
Maybe some personal tragedy befell you in 2016. If so, I am truly sorry for what happened. Still, can you maybe look around you and see all the awesome things that happened to other people? My best friend got married, and so did millions of other people. People had babies, graduated from school, found a better job, and bought their dream home. Everyone had sex, lots and lots of sex. Do you think about any of these things when you curse 2016? (Ok, you probably think about the sex. I mean the word “fuck” is literally in the catchphrase) Does all the good that happened this year not count because of the bad that you find personally distressing?
It counts. You just need to stop externalizing to be able to appreciate it.
If you feel sad, angry, or hurt, experience that pain and ask yourself why you’re feeling it. Sometimes, it’s good to feel it. My eyes still well up thinking about what happened to Jeff Call because I knew him and know he in no way deserved to die in that manner. And how can I not be filled with immense sorrow about what happened in Orlando? Neither of those events were under my control, but I don’t focus on that fact. I accept it and think about how it affects me and what I can do to make sure I don’t ever contribute to anything resembling those tragic events. I don’t blame the culture or karma, and I certainly don’t say “Fuck 2016.”
Look, I’m sorry all this shitty shit happened and shitty people did shitty things in 2016, but if you thought that shit was bad, wait until you see what 2017 has to dump on you.
(And I bet if you really think about it, you actually had a pretty good year. I know I did.)