Congratulations On Surviving 2016…It Wasn’t That Bad
By ShareGood Blogger Ryan M. Anderson
2016 has been the worst year ever! Coming into 2016 like… (Insert adorable cat pic here) exiting 2016 like…(insert clip of man smashing his family jewels on a skateboard ramp). If you have been on the Internet lately you have probably seen many of these, albeit funny, but extreme comments. According to the Internet we may have just lived through the toughest year in the history of human beings. Congratulations! Although… when I think about it, it seems that the Internet claims every year to be “the worst year ever”. Is it possible that 2016 really wasn’t that bad? That while we all likely had our share of trials and disappointments, 2016 was actually a pretty good year for us humans? Maybe the problem isn’t the challenges of modern human life but rather our victim-like relationship to any of the tribulations that the randomness of the world throws at us? So let’s take a look and find out how bad 2016 actually was…
Zika virus emerged as a new pandemic. While it has wreaked havoc on many in developing nations it has done relatively little to Americans. Zika sucks but it hasn’t killed 1,000,000 like the 1854 British Cholera Outbreak, the 50 million that Influenza killed in 1918, or the Black Plague of 1348, which killed over one third of the population of Europe.
We lost some greats like George Michael, David Bowie, and Carrie Fisher but the next generation of Musicians, Artists, Politicians, Mothers, Fathers, Husbands and wives were born and will proudly proclaim their birth year of 2016. I cannot wait to see all the incredible things that they achieve.
The economy hasn’t been perfect but it is nowhere near the struggles of the 1772 British Credit Crisis, the Great American Depression of the 1930s, or the recent housing crisis of 2007. Not to mention that even Americans living on $22,000 per year (the U.S. poverty line) make more money than 85% of the world.
There is conflict in Syria and the Middle East. However, the brave men and women of the American armed services are volunteers. They choose to fight because they want to serve the nation they are proud of. Thanks to these brave men and women, those of us in 2016 didn’t have to worry about being drafted into a war we didn’t agree with or understand. We never had to hold our breath as mustard gas engulfed our trench or as an RPG blew threw our lower legs. We never had to bury our best friend who we watched die at the hands of combat, or duck and cover as explosions lit up the air and bullets whizzed by our heads.
Higher education is more expensive than it ever has been. But higher education also has more to teach than ever before. Whether you are interested in particle physics or underwater basket weaving, in 2016 there are many ways to fulfill your intellectual dreams. And while college may be tough to afford for almost all of us poor pitiful souls, in 2016 we have access to the Internet. A wondrous frontier of free information at our fingertips. With a simple library card or basic smartphone the humans of 2016 can teach themselves anything! As Sir Francis Bacon once said, “Knowledge is power.”
Someday I bet I will be sitting in my old age around a television set waiting for the new year’s ball to drop and some young person will ask me how I ever made it through the perils of the year 2016. I don’t know how I will ever explain to those kids that 2016 was the greatest year in human history to date and while it wasn’t perfect, my generation was more concerned with complaining about its few imperfections than actually doing something to better it.
No year will ever be perfect. Someone will always have it better than you, just as you will always have it better than someone else. So why compare? Through an industrious spirit and belief in the American dream our nation put a man on the moon, helped stop the greatest threat to human morality in Adolf Hitler, and created a nation with more freedom, equality, and opportunity then any place in human history. If you still think we have much work to do as a nation, as I do, then let’s put down our iPhones, wipe off that victim mentality, and get down to work. If you don’t like the news, then get up and make your own.
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Ryan M. Anderson is a native of Cedarburg, WI. He is an entrepreneur, adventurer, photographer, Eagle Scout alumnus, Kohl’s Cares National Scholarship recipient and University South Carolina Pre-med student. Ryan currently holds the Pivotal Directions and Starting Point Leadership Fellowship. He is the assistant director of Pivotal Directions Servant Leadership Kingston, Jamaica and Antigua, Guatemala student service expeditions and Milwaukee-based leadership camp co-director. He is also the founder of the Relearn Foundation, a community-based charity dedicated to improving global education through the collection and re-distribution of school supplies. With a passion for helping anyone and everyone he meets. Ryan dreams of changing the world through service to others and hopes to inspire others to come along for the ride. He thinks big and is never afraid to get started tackling the problems of the world. Topics-of-interest: Leadership Development, Non-Profit Studies, Youth Development and Mentoring, Medicine, Global Burden of Diseases, Medical Disparities, Origins of Poverty, Public Health, Biological Sciences, Philosophy, Spanish, Creative Writing, Poetry, Photography, Social Media, Elementary Education, Traveling, Backpacking and Other Outdoor Activities, Sky-Diving, Ukulele, Soccer, and Blogging.