Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Look Back at 2016



It has been said by a number of folks that 2016 was a dumpster fire. I have even made the comment myself. If that sounds like hyperbole; you’re right. It is. However, it is an accurate reflection of how many of us felt during the last year.

I cannot speak for everyone. What I can say, is that for me personally the year was indeed quite difficult. I will spare you the details of my personal horror stories, but they are in many ways quite grim. At the very least they seemed grim at the time. I have spoken of the crippling depression I went through and the aftermath of some terrible decisions I made during that time. I have spoken of feeling lost and irrelevant. Certainly we all lost people we greatly admired or were close to. I do not claim my year to be worse than anyone else’s. All of this doesn’t even touch on the bigger picture of things that went wrong in the world around us.

A lot of good DID happen in 2016. For me personally I got a job… not just a job. I got the job I have been wanting and hoping for. I got a job that has changed my life. That is no small thing. Yes, my days right now tend to be 14 hours. Yes, I commute to another city to work. Yes, I spend a certain amount of time walking in the cold dark hours of winter. All of it is worth it though for what this job means to me and to my family. I am very thankful.

Other things that went right in 2016? Believe it or not, there are several… more than I will record here. Keep in mind we hear more about the bad. The bad is sensational and sudden. The good tends to be gradual and less shocking. 

John Green mentioned a few things in a video he did back in August. Child mortality rates continue to decline. This means less children who never had a chance. Less parents mourning over the indescribable loss of their child. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa that had been going on since 2013 ended in 2016. Cancer survival rate are climbing and our treatments are getting better. While ISIL remains a serious a problem, it is losing. It is weakening. The global economy is growing and poverty is on the decline. There are 200 million fewer people living in absolute poverty than there were four years ago. Book sales are up in 2016!

Another fantastic list of good things can be found here: http://helthehatter.tumblr.com/post/152910935316/good-things-that-happened-in-2016

The point though is that in general we are moving forward. There are set backs, there will likely always be set backs. We move forward, we hold on to hope, and we remain mindful of the good even when it is less visible in the headlines. 2016 wasn’t the worst year. We are living in the greatest time in human history (so far).  Instead of reading and watching the news, dig a little deeper. We are always led to believe things are worse than they are.

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