Really, it didn’t.
Yeah, sure I experienced some not-super-fun things from time to time, but overall, I’ve had worse years.
“But Marryl. It was 2016. It sucked for everyone. That’s just how it is.”
Ah, but see, that’s where you’re wrong. Highlights for me include graduating and moving to the French Riviera, so really I would say it’s been one of my best years yet. And you may call me selfish for saying that, what with all the horrible shit that went down around the world last year, but personally I think I am being less selfish.
Yes, many people died in 2016. But fortunately I did not lose any of my personal family or friends. Yes, a bigoted human potato was given the leadership of a very powerful country. But I am not a minority now living in fear as an American citizen. Yes, terrorist attacks struck many countries across the globe. But I only experienced them through a television or computer screen from the safety of my Canadian couch.
Maybe 2016 sucked, but MY 2016 didn’t really suck. And I think all this negativity I’ve seen across my newsfeeds of people going on and on about how they personally participated in the suck of 2016 shows how self-centred and egotistical our world can be. Yes you can mourn the loss of your favourite celebrities. You can feel compassion towards the victims of tragedy. You can be angry at the nonsensical things that happened. But don’t make it about you. Don’t brag about how terrible your life was last year because a lot of terrible things happened. It isn’t about you. Aleppo isn’t about you. Carrie Fisher’s death isn’t about you. The Nice attack isn’t about you. Black mothers unjustly losing their children isn’t about you. Fear of deportation isn’t about you. Orlando isn’t about you. Maybe all these things made you feel sad or hurt or angry, but I’m sure there were other people, other people much closer to the incidences, who had it a lot worse. So don’t make it about you.
I say all this under the assumption that most of my audience falls somewhere on the spectrum of having a lot of privilege. And I am also saying all this knowing that I can’t possibly know what everyone dealt with this past year. Maybe you faced hardships of your own. And I completely respect that. I know I shed my fair share of tears last year. But what I’m trying to get across is that you don’t have the right to plagiarize the sorrow of others and claim it as your own. It doesn’t fly with a university paper, and it ain’t gunna fly here. I hate to use the now clichéd phrase of “check your privilege” but seriously, do it. I’ve learned that human beings love to play the anti-brag game of who has it off worse. But maybe we should all stop and consider how lucky we are that we want to brag about how terrible our lives are, and that we aren’t in the position of those praying for the day when they can brag about how wonderful their lives are.
New year new you? How about you resolve to keep others in your good thoughts and keep yourself in check.