Good Bye 2016 …

It is New Year’s Eve and like the previous years, I am sitting in the living room with my laptop, the Christmas tree in view, the sound of fireworks in my ears (although it is only around 22.30, but that’s the Netherlands for you), thinking and typing away.

2016. What a year. Loads of controversy, debates, violence, without doubt.

And if you believe the newspapers, 2016 was dominated by all these negative things. My newspaper had a special section today that – pages after pages – looked at all the people that have died in 2016. The VIPs of course, not the countless victims of war in Syria and likewise. I leafed through it and thought, guys, can you stop doing this? Are we really going to define this year by the prominent deaths that happened? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I do understand that the deaths of these people feel important for some. But do we have to define a year by them? In 2015 one of my favourite authors, Terry Pratchett, died. I was sad, very sad, but I would not have dreamed of calling 2015 “the year when Pratchett died”. – Who knows what great minds have been born in 2016, we just don’t know it yet, because they are still busy drinking milk and having naps.

So, can we not define this year by death please?

As for the political things that went wrong this year, yes, there are quite a few. As for terror, yes, we cannot deny it is here, in our midst.


But does it really help to make a list of only the bad things? Does it make us feel better? Does it help the victims? Does it un-do the political change that happened? It cannot, of course. So what do we hope to achieve by colouring a whole year black?

Because also good things happened. Try it for yourself: type “good things that happened in 2016” in Google, and see the lists coming up. Some are long, some are shorter, a lot of them are rather silly, others are heartwarming. The important thing is: there are loads of them. My personal favourite is this one:

The 99 best things that happened in 2016, from Ebola’s eradication in West Africa to saving the manatees

It gives you the feeling that not all was lost in 2016. And I think we really need to hold on to that idea. Yes, terrible things happened in 2016. Some of the political decisions seem like a big step backwards, a step in the wrong direction. But some right steps have been taken too. People died, but people also were saved. People were born, people grew a little older, who might change things in a positive way in the future. We should not close our eyes to the bad things, but we should do our best not to let them define us. Because then they have won.

So let us take in that year, with all the good and bad, try to balance it in our mind. Let us think about what we can learn from it. Let us think what good things we can take from it. And then, let us turn around, face 2017. Let us make it a good one. I still believe we can.

Happy New Year.



15 thoughts on “Good Bye 2016 …

  1. Thank you so much for this post! As you know, I have viewed most of the year through dark-tinted glasses, and I was encouraged nearly to the point of tears by your positive post. I wish everyone, including myself, thought like you do. Do you mind if I reblog your post? Best wishes to a dear friend for the coming year! 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    While I typically walk on the dark side these days, my friend from the Netherlands wrote a beautifully upbeat New Year post that I would like to share with you all … I love her positive attitude and determination to always look for the best. Please take a few moments to read her post … it is guaranteed to put a bit of light back into your heart! Thank you, Choosing, for permission to re-blog!

    • The German magazine “Der Spiegel” since a few months has a section that translates into “bad old times”, featuring something that has improved over the last years/decades: think infant mortality, vaccination rates, but also overall death toll through war (the conflict in Syria somewhat spoiled that statistic though).

  3. Happy New Year Choosing! Thanks for taking the time to point out the positives in 2016. You are right, tons of negative things happened in 2016, and many negative things have happened in years past, but these events should not define a whole year. Would we rather people remember us for the good or the bad we have done after we leave Earth? I am guessing most people would say the good, so why do we not see it that way when reflecting on the events throughout a year? Kudos to you for finding the positive! That’s a great way to start a new year.

    • I do understand starting early for kids. We have done that too one year. What I found really strange was that once (I think two years ago) someone started their firework at half past two in the morning – and when I looked out of my window I saw that it was a family with young kids!
      – Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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