I have stated before that I care little for the festivities that accompany the transition into a new year, but this last one was a definite exception. I could not contain myself: Yelling at fireworks, rambling to strangers about mistletoe, praying silently, weeping uncontrollably after looking at a calendar – it was a wondrous night of merriment and good riddance to a lot of bad rubbish.
For someone whose entire outlook on the world is influenced by news headlines, 2016 was a horrible year. Sure, some economies are improving as I hear from my friends who cross their legs while reading newspapers, but if it doesn’t trend on social media, I won’t know about it. All I’m aware of is seemingly nonstop cans getting kicked, from David Bowie in January to Carrie Fisher in December.
To be fair, I did try to give 2016 a chance. It had moments that could have made it a good year for me: a few good movies (Deadpool, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Civil War), a few good shows (Stranger Things, The People v OJ Simpson, Stranger Things), Gucci Mane getting an early release from jail, DiCaprio winning an Oscar after we’d all given up hope…
But none of that means anything because Prince died and I remained unable to forgive 2016.
I tried my hardest to move on from this but I couldn’t. (And, no, that’s not because I have a problem letting go, Ashley.) Fresh wounds just weren’t allowed to heal. It was like the year got carried away in an attempt to teach people some valuable lesson on fragility or appreciation or whatever. Like it didn’t want anyone to maintain a shred of happiness for too long. One moment you’re having the creamiest ice-cream, the next you’re tweeting “RIP Fidel Castro gone too soon 😭”. You’re getting excited over finally getting to see Batman fight Superman on the big screen and then you end up with Batman v Superman. You’re watching Die Hard over the holidays then you remember Alan Rickman is gone, too. You’re having a nice nap on a lazy Wednesday afternoon then your roommates start discussing your grades.
You wonder how Larry King is outliving everyone (those suspenders are tethering his blessed soul to his body, maybe?), then you begin thinking of CNN and turn on the TV to see what the next generation of journalists is up to. But you’re not met with Richard Quest animatedly meaning business in his croaky voice. You see reports that people around the world have collectively decided to test the limits of their democracy. (See: Brexit, The Donald.)
You see news reports that keep getting more and more absurd, like the Universe is a terrible playwright of satire.
Somebody drops their baby into an endangered gorilla enclosure in a zoo, zoo officials then shoot said endangered gorilla, people start to let their naughty extremities hang in honor of slain endangered gorilla, then they make memes out of the incident that flood my timeline for months, obscuring more important things, like pictures of people in bathing costumes.
Then drama surrounding the Olympics, an event where people are simply required to display a little nationalism and try to secure corporate sponsors. Kits got stolen, swimmers lied about being robbed at gunpoint and there emerged an STD, in a tropical country, that is also spread by mosquitos, for the convenience of all the prudes that want to be part of the feverish action. Did I mention this was during the Olympics? Where thousands of sweaty people from all over the world cram themselves into tightly packed stadiums where they trade viruses like so many Pokémon?
After the hundredth time you tune in to a panel of analysts discussing how a reality television star/orange with a hairpiece became president of a country that isn’t Zimbabwe, you accept the fact that complete optimism would be naiveté.
2016 is a downer, but at least Prince isn’t here to see this insanity.
Plus, we got through it all. We braved the hottest year on record and emerged unbarbecued. Now it’s time for new beginnings, turning new leaves, writing new chapters and finding new ways to feel bad about being single on Valentine’s Day again.
Let us put away our hang-ups, get out there and seize the new year by the bowels.