Many are saying 2016 was a terrible year because of the large number of celebrities who died over the last twelve months. It was – I am sure – horrible for the friends and families of those celebrities; and fans will need time to mourn.

If we’ve learned one thing from 2016, it’s how to make a talented stranger’s death a declaration of our own fine taste and sensitivity.

— Julia Williams (@juliawriter) December 30, 2016

Condemning 2016 as ‘horrible’ seems a bit arrogant though. After so many years of living in the shadow of Baby Boomers, it seems a bit hypocritical for Generation X’ers (like myself) to claim that our experience is the same experience for everyone else.

If you want to proclaim 2016 a shit year because of the millions of people killed and displaced by war, poverty, bigotry, mass murder, natural disasters and climate change, I won’t argue.

For me personally, 2016 was pretty darned good (not listed in order of importance):

  1. This was the year I found full time meaningful work in my new career (nearly at my 1-year anniversary).
  2. I recently became a fully accredited social worker in Alberta.
  3. I am further away from (and more aware of) the depression that took hold of my life several years ago.
  4. Our young children are growing ever more cool with each passing month.
  5. Canada is waking up from our long-held ignorance of the the horrendous ordeals we forced Indigenous peoples to endure for 150+ years (visit http://www.trc.ca).
  6. For all of 2016, the Liberal Party was in charge of Canada’s government. For me, this goodness is mostly because we have now moved further away from the decade of recent Conservative rule.
  7. Barack Obama was still President of the USA for all of 2016.  Still a bit shocked that Trump will be President for most of 2017 but this post isn’t about 2017.
  8. We also had the entirety of 2016 with an NDP government in Alberta. For me, this remains a nice change after 40+ years of intense neoliberalism.
  9. Alberta’s economy seems to be improving.
  10. 2016 is a year we can remind ourselves that even though we lost LGBTQ and feminist icons – like David Bowie, Prince, George Michael, Vera Rubin and (most recently) Carrie Fisher – they were here when we needed them and they lived lives that were inspirational to a great many folks.
  11. I now think even more often of the musical genius of Leonard Cohen, Sharon Jones, and Mose Allison.

For everyone who is experiencing loss, I hope you are able to take the time for mourning and I wish you well for 2017 and beyond.