It seems everywhere I look these days people are saying that 2016 has been the worst year ever and they are all hopeful for a better 2017. I have a feeling that if we looked back on the last 2, 5, or 10 years that we would discover the majority of those years were also “the worst year ever”. What determines a “worst year ever” and why do people have so many? Do the years keep getting worse? If 2015 was “the worst year ever” and so was 2014 and 2013 and 2012…you get the picture; what happened in 2016 that makes it even worse than the preceding years?
I understand that unpleasant things happen throughout a year. There is no doubt that we all have struggles but the whole year isn’t bad, is it. Not every year can be “the worst year ever”. And through our struggles we learn; you just have to look for the silver lining.
This is how I view my 2016:
I started my year off in a relationship that probably should’ve only ever been friendship. We had a few (by a few I mean a lot) of ups and downs during the 4-5 months we were together. It did not end well, but it allowed me to exercise, and therefore strengthen, my ability to forgive as well as show compassion and understanding. With a little time we were able to be friends. We do much better on the friend level and I have no doubts at all that she would agree with me.
I began to really dislike the company I worked for. I had been there for 7 years in 2016, For the most part I had really enjoyed working there. But the time was drawing near, I had to get the heck out of that place, it was making me miserable. And so I did. I quit that job, found a job I love and that suits me much better. I have a lot less stress in my life now. My leaving that job taught me a lot about letting go, letting things be, and being the bigger person.
In June of 2016 depression hit me like a ton of bricks. I was completely powerless to it. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t function, I felt hopeless, I was never going to pull out of it, this was just how my life was going to be. I wanted nothing, I desired nothing. My mom had recently broken her leg and had to have surgery. Being there for her was the only thing that kept me going. It was a very very dark emotional period for me. My thoughts betrayed me, my emotions lied to me, logic and reason were both lost on me. I contacted my therapist, she connected me with a psychiatrist, and the psychiatrist worked with me until we found a good combination and dose of meds. Now I am much more balanced, I am more productive in my life, and for the most part I feel pretty good. I hope I never experience those kind of days again, but if I do, I now know I can survive them and I have two pretty amazing people I can contact to help get me balanced again
I gave up soda this year as well. For some of you that may not seem like a big deal, but for soda/pop lovers/addicts, it’s a pretty damn big deal. In giving up soda/pop I’ve improved my health, both physically and mentally (soda pop is very bad for you).
I met with someone who I hadn’t seen in over a year. This person had completely shattered my heart a few years prior. I thought that was going to kill me. I was able to meet with this person, genuinely forgive this person, ask this person for forgiveness, and catch up with this person a little and I survived it without letting it set me back. I completely fell apart for several hours, but I was able to put myself back together and keep moving forward. We agreed neither of us was quite ready to be friends yet, but someday we would get there.
During this year I was in a position that seemed to leave me no choice but to process, more in-depth than I ever had, abuse that I was subjected to as a child. I wasn’t really ready to explore that more, but are we ever really ready to process abuse we’ve been stuffing down for decades? I still have a lot more healing and processing to do around that abuse, but I’m now more open to processing it. This is huge because this is one of the main causes of how I view myself and what I think and feel about myself. This is another step towards healing.
Lastly, this year I came to the realization that I had a drinking problem. I denied it, argued it, justified it, ignored it, got offended, and got defensive about it for quite sometime and then it finally hit me. I got it, my eyes had been opened. This was certainly not an easy thing to realize, to come to terms with, but I did. So now I’m sober, I’m proud of this step I’ve taken. I wholeheartedly embrace my sobriety. I am happier sober. And honestly, there is a huge sense of relief knowing that I will never be drunk again, I will never drink again, I never have to feel obligated to drink again. I can live the rest of my life knowing that at no time will I ever injure or kill anyone while driving drunk. Alcohol is just no longer part of my life; that’s the way it is now and I am so okay with that.
All of these things I’ve listed were hard to deal with, hard to overcome, and hard to accept. Any one of the aforementioned life events could’ve been enough for me to make the claim that 2016 has been “the worst year ever”. Instead of reflecting back on the year through negative filtered lenses, I’ve sought out the silver linings in my hardships throughout the year. They may not always be easy to see but I promise you’ve come away from every hardship with something good, you’ve just got to open your heart, mind, and eyes enough to see it.
So, when you reflect back on this year, any past year, or any year to come I implore you to sit in silence with your hardships and explore what gifts you’ve taken away from them. What lesson did it teach you? In what ways did it open your mind and heart? How much did it expand your ability to forgive, feel love and compassion, to feel empathy? There is a silver lining in your hardships, there always is and yours are no exception. Why reflect back on the year and/or your life with such a negative outlook when there are positive things to found within the hardships.
Life can be hard, it can deal you a shitty hand sometimes, and sometimes shitty things happen. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Life isn’t fair, but no one said it would be. We are here, we are alive and I don’t plan on that changing anytime soon and if, God forbid it should, let’s try to make the best of it while we have it. There is an abundance of negativity, hardships, and horribleness in this life but there is also an abundance of positivist, love, compassion, and wonderfulness. If you’re going to default to one side or the other, make it the latter. It’s so much more pleasant there.
I am by no means telling you to wear rose colored glasses, reality is reality, there is no changing that. I’m suggesting that not all of life is bad, not every year can be “the worst year ever”. Look for the lessons, look for the take aways, look for the silver lining.
Here is to 2017 not being another “worst year ever” (Perhaps a New year’s Resolution…)
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year ♥