The One Thing I'll Miss About This Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

Heather Jones is not gonna miss 2016, but by choosing to see the positive, she finds some kindness amidst all the turmoil.

2016 was not kind to me. Starting around February, I began to picture how I would ring in 2017 by burning calendars, middle fingers raised high, shouting expletives. Unfortunately for the world, but to the benefit of my company-loving misery, 2016 universally sucked for pretty much everyone. Without even mentioning true world horrors that occurred over the twelve months, it was a year fraught with the loss of beloved icons, political controversy, and countless individuals experiencing banner rotten years. At a time of year when most social media feeds are filled with cutesy memes and sappy posts reflecting lovingly on the current year and toasting to the new one, this year we are being flooded with far less polite send-offs to the dumpster fire that was 2016.

Having spent the year crawling to 2017, often through paths of Lego, wearing shorts, I expected to be stretching my tallest fingers outwards to the impending New Year’s Eve, but instead, I find myself feeling differently.

I feel grateful. (Mister) Fred Rogers once remarked that when bad things happen, look for the helpers. As I look back on all the challenges and setbacks I faced this year, in each moment I see helpers. I see friends who checked in on me daily, who lent an ear and a shoulder, and who actively helped me form coping strategies.

I can’t count the number of times I opened my door to find a little pick me up left, often anonymously, by someone who was thinking of me. Numerous times throughout the year, people came to my aid without being asked, just sensing I needed them.

2016 was the year the insecure teenager inside me finally accepted that there are people who genuinely like and care about me. Despite the turmoil, I have never felt more loved.

In times of great uncertainty, I had a network of people building me a net. I knew that even when I inevitably fell, these people would not let me hit the ground. And I did fall. And they caught me as promised.

So many of us have spent this year walking a tightrope with the goal to just get to the other side, and we missed all the nets being weaved. The news is filled with loss and pain, but when you look for it, the kindness is there. The good is there, even in the year from Hell.

Like the rest of the world, I have been approaching December 31st like it is an expiry date. We all have this visual of the clock striking midnight, and the sky being filled with collective dissolving weights, mixing with the fireworks. I think as we approach the actual date, we realize that it won’t work like that. The problems that plagued us during 2016 will not magically disappear, but what I am feeling within myself and seeing projected by the world is a shift from despair to action. 2016 was a Lonely Hearts Club, but 2017 is going to be Fight Club. 2017 is the year we take it all back. It is a rebuilding year, it is a year of gratitude for making it through 2016, and regaining our strength. It is a year that promises hard work, commitment, and growth.

2016 hit us hard. It threw us for a loop and knocked us off our game. This will not be healed by a ball drop, we have some recovering to do and some wounds to lick, but we have had enough. 2017 better look out, we are putting on our boxing gloves.

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