2016: Was it really the worst year yet?

2016: Was it really the worst year yet?

Success is commonly measured through a series of advancements or drawbacks that occur within a set period of time. If the advancements outweigh the drawbacks, one can typically conclude that success has materialized. This definition of success has been an important marker when reflecting upon the world in this past year. The year 2016 has been publicly addressed in terms of “The Year From Hell” and “The Worst Year in History.” I’m sure if one advanced his search on the matter, he could produce more exceedingly ridiculous labels for a 365 day span that, whether you like it or not, could have been exponentially worse.

One of the key areas of concern when analyzing this past year is the uncharacteristically high amount of terroristic activity by various groups, most specifically ISIS. Whether it was shootings in Orlando, bombings in Paris or various violent acts throughout the Middle East, it seemed as if the only way one could evade all of the hatred and trauma was to shut off the TV and avoid newspapers altogether. Although I agree wholeheartedly that these events have no place within society, unfortunately such tragedy has become commonplace in today’s world. Furthermore, who is to say that any catastrophe from 2016 was worse than or more painful than past misfortunes? To even begin and try to compare one event to another is sick, twisted and a poor use of one’s time. Truth be told, affliction is a timeless concept that is quite frankly evident throughout all of history in one form or another. Instead of comparing failures, it makes more sense to view the successes of an era and note that regardless of any trials and tribulations that occurred, society as a whole was able to overcome them and advance.

The next major concern from 2016 with foreseeable consequences seems to be the future of the government with President-elect Donald Trump set to take office in late January. There was widespread pandemonium and protest that erupted following the business tycoon’s massive upset over Hillary Clinton in November. While I think it is disgusting that our top two candidates for presidency were composed of questionable ethics and pasts plagued with sexual assault allegations and criminal behavior, what’s done is done and there is considerable reason to be optimistic. Never in the history of the United States has a man with no political background been stationed as the head of our country. Perhaps, having a non-politician in office could offer new perspective to a typically closed-minded group of individuals operating in government. As a nation, we should feel a sense of optimism with this new change in store. Whether or not he will serve as a great President and leader is still to be determined; only time will tell.

Although 2016 was seen as repulsive and painful for many, that is no reason to lose hope for what 2017 has in store, especially before the end of January. After all, despite the recent deaths of Prince, Bowie, Ali, Palmer and Harambe, unemployment rates are currently an astonishing two percent ahead of the government’s target percentage. Regardless of nuclear threats from North Korea, an ugly presidential campaign and an increase in internet fraud, healthcare advances, along with widespread awareness efforts, brought us the ALS ice bucket challenge, defense against the Zika Virus and an increase in renewable resources.

Make no mistake, there is a difference between optimism and stupidity; however, at this point in time, I truly believe there is good reason to be cautiously hopeful. Are there issues throughout the world? Absolutely. Could things be worse? Absolutely. There are always going to be aspects of life that could be better and, likewise, aspects that could be worse. My recommendation to those claiming that “2016 was the worst year of all time” is to avoid comparing across generations and instead realize that even though we have witnessed many horrific events throughout the course of history, somehow things always seem to end up alright. If you hated 2016, welcome 2017 with open arms as a new beginning; if you are indifferent, don’t lose hope; and if you loved it, carry that same attitude and mentality into the remainder of the new calendar year.

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