My 2016 didn’t really suck that much

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.

Here’s why.

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.


New Year’s Resolutions

Okay, look, I know everyone thinks that New Year’s resolutions are kind of dumb. The beginning of January brings a barrage of really tired jokes about the gym being really busy for only two weeks blah blah blah. There seems to be a consensus that people don’t do a great job of keeping the resolutions they make, but I think if you’re part of that consensus, maybe you should make one of your resolutions to be more of an open minded person. Because there are worse things in the world than resolutions.

Tonight at midnight the world is going to change into a brand new year, but in reality nothing actually changes after that ten second countdown. Our world is run by some arbitrary system of time and dates that we all go along with so yes, it being a “new year” doesn’t really mean much. But, being a member of the world, I figure I’ll go along with it and take advantage of this arbitrary system. So I’m going to treat this new year as some metaphorical, symbolic change to encourage myself to be a better person. Because I think we should all always work towards bettering ourselves, so why not use January 1st as a kickstarter?

So here is my list of things I want to do at some point, and I will use the new year to motivate myself towards doing them. This isn’t some forced-opinion, super vague list of resolutions that I think every single young person on the planet must have that you may find on websites like Elite Daily (confession: I kind of hate Elite Daily). This is just a list of things I want to do. Feel free to join in. Also feel free to disregard them as a whole.

1. Get over it

I spent half of this year trying to fix something that I broke without knowing how I broke it, and it’s come to the point where I just need to accept it and move on. I think that a lot of things that cause stress and struggles in my life are really unnecessary, so I’d like to work on recognizing the things I can’t do anything about, drop any bitterness, and just get over it. Maybe this sounds negative or pessimistic, but I think it’s realistic.

2. Stop being so sorry

I’m a very nice person. I don’t mean this arrogantly; trust me I’m not a great person. But I’m very nice. Too nice at times. Being nice is great and it helps people, but being nice also makes me way too apologetic. I am too quick to blame myself and apologize for things when I probably didn’t do the thing I’m blaming myself for and probably have no reason to apologize. Yes I still hold myself accountable for my actions, but I really don’t need to say sorry to every table I walk into. I walk into a lot of tables.

3. Try to be a more social human being

Sometimes it’s hard to tell, but I’m a shy person. I also err on the side of introverted. Not to mention I’m pretty sure I have some form of social anxiety. I like alone time and I like to hermit myself away with Netflix and snacks. But lots of people like Netflix and snacks, so one of my goals is to push myself to invite people to join me for said Netflix and snacks. Consider this to be like a Craiglist ad.

4. Be more observant

This is a rather broad statement but it means a lot of things. It means put my phone down and look around once in a while. It means actually see the details of the visual world I live it. It means be observant about the people around me and more invested in the lives of the people I care about. Sometimes I feel like I let ignorance blind me.

5. Ask for help when I need it

I am the worst culprit for not doing this, and I think this will be particularly important this year.

So there you have it. Of course there are other little things like “actually do my readings” and “buy more healthy food,” but I stuck to the big stuff. I know New Year’s resolutions have gotten to the point of being clichéd or unrealistic or only for squares, but honestly I encourage you to be more openminded to them as a motivator to make those changes in your life that you’ve been wanting to make. Or, you know, don’t. Do whatever you want. I’m not your mom.

Happy New Year!