The three hundred and sixty-six days that bridged the gap between January 1, 2016 and January 1, 2017 could best be described as miserable. Judging by my Facebook feed, most people would agree with the sentiment expressed above. Then again, in the past year, we learned not to trust Facebook as an accurate analysis of the world.
However, after several family troubles, which resulted in me becoming all too familiar with my local hospital, I can safely say I hated 2016. As pain brought by the Syrian Civil War razed Aleppo, as terror attacks left citizens of the Americas, Europe, and Africa reeling, and as political discourse descended into lies and fervent ad hominem attacks across the globe, I can only imagine that there exists a legion of men and women joined together by suffering and heartache.
Simply put: 2016 was, for many people, the worst year in recent memory.
Yet, as I came across posts memorializing departed celebrities, accompanied by the all too familiar #End2016, I couldn’t relate. For several reasons, as difficult as the events which occurred during 2016 were, I felt that wishing for the year to end wasn’t the best attitude to put forth.
By impatiently waiting for the year to end, we assign blame where it is not due. In the most literal sense, #End2016 argues that the cause of all of our problems is solely the year we live in, and it assumes that as midnight strikes on January 1, all of our problems will magically be solved. While this was likely not the intention of the first person to haphazardly type #End2016 at the end of their tweet, we have certainly learned over the last election cycle that if you say something enough, people start to believe it. Casually condoning this type of behavior is hazardous, because it draws blame away from where it should land: on the shoulders of the men and women who guide our paths.
Understandably, this criticism does come a bit late, as we are already halfway through the first month of January. Nevertheless, this advice doesn’t just hold true for the wee hours of December. Rather, the implications of an argument against #End2016 serve as a proper condemnation of the way we treat the coming of a new year.
When you think about it, January 1 is as arbitrary a marker of change as March 14 or October 27. So why should we make resolutions and expect change to randomly come every 365—or in some cases, 366—days? In reality, the tides which govern the conditions of our lives ebb and flow on a daily basis. If we wait a whole year to make change, to buy a gym membership, or to cut out fatty foods, then all we do is put off changing ourselves and our lives, due to a subconscious assumption about what constitutes a New Year's resolution. A real resolution, one where accountability rests on the shoulders of man or woman, doesn’t depend on the conditions of time; rather, it solely depends on the will to thrive.
In sum, be wary of hazardous diction like #End2016. While such a phrase may seem to fittingly express feelings of antipathy and depression, it can also create an environment where those feelings will linger. Thus, as someone who had a pretty horrible 2016, I implore you: Do not blame the blameless, do not let arbitrary markers of time dictate your life, and do not fall victim to false notions of change. Instead, hold yourself accountable and invoke change one day at a time.