we only have around seven weeks until 2016 is over, one could sense relief that this wild, overwhelming, and putrid year is about to come to an end. From a presidential election which takes out the worst from those in 1968 and 2000 and then some, to multiple beloved stars dying; from a deadlocked Syrian Civil War with a refugee crisis leaving governments and civilians alike debating whether to take in more, to attacks from Nice to Ankara; combined with the apocalyptic/false stories heard on social media, one may want to forget mentioning 2016 when discussing the story of their life.
However, this article was not meant to wallow in things such as rigging and Brexit or any other tragedy which made 2016 so suboptimal. Instead, with Thanksgiving coming up, here are some things we should be thankful for this year.
1. 2016 is now the warmest year on record:
On the surface, this is not a good thing. On the other hand, this is a recognition that global warming is indeed happening and therefore, we must implore our communities and our governments around the world to take meaningful action to combat this phenomenon. This is also important because CO2 emissions also crossed the 400 ppm threshold; if these don’t suggest human-afflicted climate change is something that needs improving on, nothing can.
2. Bernie Sanders’ candidacy
And the overwhelming enthusiasm that several millennials I’ve observed towards his candidacy. With policies ranging from debt-free college to increased taxation on the wealthy, this is a platform more progressive than the Democratic party has seen. Even though he would lose the race to the nomination, he is bound to take a leading role in the Democratic party for the next four years.
3. Third Parties
Namely, the Green and Libertarian parties, represented by Jill Stein and Gary Johnson in the 2016 presidential election. While they didn’t get that many votes, their alternative points of view forced most of us to reconsider our points of views and think about building alternative parties to the Democrats and the Republicans.
4. The Rio Olympics
Prior to the games, we’ve heard about the myriad of problems the city of Rio de Janiero had to combat, ranging from dirty waters to political corruption. Even though they would continue to fester during and after the games, with Dilma Rousseff impeached sometime after, we’ve had a bunch of amazing moments. From a creative opening ceremony featuring parkour and a message about climate change (see #1), to seeing the exploits of the old guard and the new alike, while it didn’t transcend the controversy, it still provided for good television. Who wouldn't want to watch the Olympics?
5. The impossible made possible
No, not in election and referendum results, but rather, in the sports realm outside the Olympics. From Leicester City’s defying 5000/1 odds to win the Premier League title (and with two games to spare, no less!), to the city of Cleveland finally having a sports title from the Cavaliers (despite going down 3-1 to the Warriors, who are phenomenal all by themselves), these surprise sports stories can make a young child, or a championship deprived-team, dream again. That one day, that could be them holding the trophy.
6. Hamilton and its power to inspire
While the Broadway musical premiered in 2015, it has quickly caught on as a national phenomenon. And it caught the Tonys on fire as well, getting nominated for sixteen and won eleven. Personally, I haven’t been obsessed with it, but looking through the lyrics of the songs and listening to “Cabinet Battle #1” several times, I could understand why it became special. I honestly hope for the day I could watch it, and to see more diverse casts in all shows as well.
Also known as Bill Wurtz’s guide to 40,000 years of Japanese history crammed into nine minutes. It’s beautiful and funny and charming and awesome. And a good way to learn your history while not having it so dry. If you haven’t watched it, now may be a good time.
8. The iPhone 7
For some, it recognizes our eternal need for a headphone jack. For others, it recognizes the relief of not having wires on their earphones. And for people not like me, it makes them all relieved they don’t have a Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
9. Humorous Commentators and Late Night Skits
I remember when I watched John Oliver’s discussion of Donald Trump on a clip from “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”. I found it online, but it was humorous and informative all at once. Along with many more commentators, this was a shift from us “listening to politicians and laughing at comedians” to vice versa, which seems bad, until you could see some truth in those words.And those Saturday Night Live cold opens featuring Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump and Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton were classic; though I know some people will point out many more commentaries about the election and more.But that last one before the election, where Baldwin and McKinnon break character and run around New York City? Classic and beautiful and heartwarming.
10. Millenials (That's Us!)
Even though our favorite stars have died, it doesn’t mean there can’t be any more. We have so much at our disposal: technology to write stories and make videos and share with audiences and take commentary and ignore haters peeping out from the cracks.
Not only for entertainment, but also for social activism. The past year also had further emergence of police brutality against black people; with every new post and share, we also recognize this, along with further instances of how this is not a post-racial society yet.
Overall, 2016 may be a bad year, but as we consider the next seven weeks and into 2017, the future, and some of the past, might be a bit brighter. But it’s up to use to make those decisions everyday to wake up and make every year a year to smile about.