Donald Trump is the president-elect, David Bowie and Alan Rickman passed away, Harambe was shot, there's police brutality, people were shot in the Pulse Club of Orlando, there is an outbreak of Zika Virus, Hurricane Matthew struck… the list goes on and on. Everyone I know is writing off 2016. But here's the thing--why should this stop us? I know things are ugly right now, I'm not denying that. But we as a people have been gifted an opportunity to demonstrate our own strength, to learn to support each other, and to persevere. The world will keep on turning, taking us all with it.
Why are we allowing ourselves to become victims of circumstance?
Now, I'm not saying that we don't all have a right to mourn our own losses. I understand why a lot of people are scared right now, and trust me, there are parts of me that are scared too. I think that everyone has the right to feel the way they want to about Trump, or any of the other things that have happened this year. It's a daunting concept, and it's hard to ignore when it's the leader of our country we're talking about. But hardship can be a blessing in disguise.
The death of a celebrity, for example. When you heard the news about David Bowie, Alan Rickman, or Prince, didn't you go home to your family that night and appreciate them just a little bit more? Didn't you look at your best friends and come to the sobering realization that any day could be the last you spend with them? If you didn't, you should have. Deaths of great people remind us how fragile human life is, it points out that none of us are invincible, it forces you to pay attention to how you live your life each day. The people we admire and respect are no different than we are, and we only have so long to make this life a memorable one.
When you heard about the Orlando shooting, did your mind go to your LGBT friends or family members? Were your eyes opened to how hard it is to be them? Every day that they're out of the closet, they go out into the community and face unbridled prejudice, and they put their lives at risk just by accepting themselves for who they are. If you never thought about that before, if you just wrote them off as a special snowflake or a weirdo, but you probably took a closer look and put yourself into their shoes when you heard about the Orlando shooting. Let me tell you from experience that your LGBT friend or family member will be infinitely thankful that you even tried to understand what they go through.
I know. I know because I am a woman, I am a gay person, I am an American citizen. Trump's words and actions affect me too. I have friends in the minorities, I'm not blind. I know that there's bad stuff going on and that things have the potential to get a lot worse. I know why people are scared. I know why people are angry.
But if we shut down because of the fear and the anger and all the terrible things that have happened, how can we ever hope to rise above it?
If, instead, we unite as friends, as a family, as people who don't want to watch the world burn, we can accomplish anything. Really, we can. We can be there for each other, we can prove to the people we love that we care about them, and we can prove to ourselves and everyone around us that we are too strong to let anything keep us down. We are too brave to lose hope. We are too diligent to give up.
Of course, this is not to say that people's feelings aren't valid when they get upset over the events of 2016. But writing off the whole year? Saying that you wish 2016 never happened, that not a single good thing happened all year?
Well, you're just wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Look at all the good things that have happened! Seriously, look at them:
Tumblr user helthehatter put together a list of over 60 good things that happened in 2016. Over 60! That's something to smile about. Remember, there's always good left in the world if you're only willing to look hard enough.