I think it is safe to say that 2016 has been a crummy year for pretty much everyone collectively. Not only that, but we still have a whole month left. American democracy became at risk of imploding when a demagogue lost the popular vote, but was still elected thanks to an antiquated electoral system. Immigration and refugee crises continue to create an international emergency. The effects of pollution on the environment are now declared to be beyond repair. And we lost a higher than average of globally revered entertainers that managed to give us hope during times of trouble (four of whom were personal favorites).
Looking at all of this on social media, you would think the world was ending tomorrow. And it just might. But then again, it may not. A lot of people are upset and hurting, and rightfully so. There’s a lot of wrong happening right now and people are working hard to fix things.
Though, the questions remains: Why 2016? Why is this year the one that seems the worst year in decades? Is it because it actually signifies we are near the end, or does our media consumption and fear-mongering enable us to think this way?
I don’t know about you, but 2016 was a very good year for me all things considered. I try not to be selfish about this fact. There are a lot of people who are suffering right now and I try my best to remember that and minimize their hurt if possible. And while losing Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Prince, and Sharon Jones were influential losses and the election of Donald Trump worries me sick, I have a lot to be thankful for this year.
The last few years involved a lot of personal sacrifice and had their fair share of heartache for me. 2014 was the hardest year of my life and 2015 was me putting the pieces back together. But 2016 was the year where I could sit back and enjoy the product of my hard work. I’ve had a stable job this year and I make more money now than I have before. I went on my first family vacation in over a decade (to Disneyworld). I fought back some envious wanderlust and travelled across three distinct cities in Europe over two week (London, Rome, and Amsterdam). I’ve got tickets to “Hamilton,” the hottest show on the planet. I have friends that support me a family that loves me. I feel really good about all of that.
Naturally, I know that satisfaction and good times come and go. I’m enjoying a lot about life right now and that enjoyment can be fleeting. Things will change and some bad times will come. However, I’ll be older and more experienced in handling the bad stuff. And it doesn’t mean I cannot enjoy my own personal accomplishments, triumphs, and privileges along the way. Life is short and we need to be happy. And I don’t have any guilt in expressing that happiness.
Holiday Inn was a 1942 film starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. In the film, Crosby and Astaire have a popular nightclub act in New York City. After some heartbreak, they meet a year later at an inn. There, Marjorie Reynolds’ character catches their eye and has them falling head over heels. It is a fun romantic comedy from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Most famously, the film introduced Crosby’s iconic “White Christmas” to the world. And rightfully so. It is an incredibly song. But, it isn’t Christmastime yet. We’re talking Thanksgiving today.
I love the track “I’ve Got Plenty to Be Thankful For” because it is clear and concise. And frankly, I do have a lot to be thankful for. Penned by Irving Berlin, the song is about appreciating what you have. While you may not have everything you want, you still have a lot to be thankful for. And that is very true. I know what I want out of life that I don’t have yet and I work hard to try to make those things happen. Until then, the goal is to live in the now and appreciate what I have. I don’t have a big yacht or a private car, but I’ve got all my limbs and can still see (I have my health as they say).
Thanksgiving is truly a great holiday. When I was younger, it was a way to get out of school which was always appreciated. The true meaning of the holiday never really sank in with me until I got older. Now, it is becoming one of my most cherished holidays. It gives me an opportunity to reflect on my life and be happy about what I currently have because it won’t be around forever. And wherever you are, take a look around and know that it could always be worse.