Taking a look back, 2016 sure appears to be a big bucket of ingrown toenails.
It hit me again this week with the passing of Alan Thicke, the TV star/theme song writer. I wasn’t a big fan of any of his TV efforts, but he had become a regular guest on my favorite radio show and that is where I got to experience his self-deprecating humor and charm. He was just a good dude and listening to him was great fun.
When you mix in all of the political turmoil, celebrity deaths, the loss of young lives locally and other depressing factors, well, 2016 cannot end too soon for me. I mean, I need a root canal and possibly another eye surgery. Really, 2016?
But somewhere out there, this had to be a good year for someone, right? So I reached out to friends and acquaintances and asked if anything good happened to them in 2016.
My friends Keith and Shari uprooted and moved from their lifelong home in northern Illinois.
“Good things for us (were) our new chapter in life with the big move to Greenville, S.C.,” Keith wrote. “Both neighbors and complete strangers alike have welcomed us to their city. It just reinforces the adage that there are good people everywhere.”
Sedalian Linda Noble got to see her son, Dylan, graduate with honors from Mizzou – the first member of the family to graduate from college – and land a great job as a music teacher in Belton. Stephanie Lefevers noted that while 2016 “has been the worst year on record for our family,” they did add “a wonderful son-in-law to our family when Devin married Ryan Niederwimmer. That was the most wonderful day of our year.”
My former Democrat co-worker, Emily Jarrett, “turned 30 and survived my birthday celebration with minimal embarrassment.” She also was asked to be a bridesmaid for a friend’s wedding – her 10th time in that role, which she claims qualifies her to “officially refuse to be in all other weddings because I’m retired.”
Teri Turner shared that she “was awfully proud to watch my husband Andy, who was the oldest in his Basic Training class, graduate at the top of his class with the Leadership Award. He had worked so hard for months and we were ecstatic to see all of his hard work pay off.”
What’s not so great for one person (me, a White Sox fan) was great for others. Both Noah Austin and Matt LaCasse were more than happy to point to the Chicago Cubs’ World Series title.
“As bad as 2016 was, I’ll always remember it as the year I got to stop hearing about billy goats, Leon Durham and Steve Bartman,” Noah wrote. “My favorite team seems to finally be building a legacy of winning, instead of losing.”
Matt added: “I have a serious dichotomy with 2016. On a public scale, it’s been a pretty serious Dumpster fire. Personally though, my son was born on Dec. 4, the Cubs won the World Series and I started a new job with a company I love. I hope all these beloved celebrities we’ve lost inspire greatness in all of us in 2017.”
For former Democrat Editor Dennis Rich, 2016 actually was one of the best years of his life. It was the second year of Dennis’ relocation to New Orleans, “easily the best choice I ever made for myself. This city is magical, the people are amazing and each day adds its own little piece to the adventure.”
While all of these messages have improved my attitude toward 2016, Tony Blei’s comments provided great fuel for thought.
“I was diagnosed with a non-cancerous brain tumor that required a 10-hour operation. Two weeks before surgery, I also lost my job,” Tony wrote. “So what’s good about this? My wife, Susan, and an army of other superheroes who are not just supporting me but are carrying Susan and me through our GoFundMe page. Complete strangers and old friends have become our guardian angels. Some have flown to Seattle to help us.
“Our world is filled with adversity. Remember to keep breathing, drink plenty of water and recognize and embrace the superheroes who are carrying you when you’re too weak to stand.”
Keith also closed his message with motivation: “It is the power of family and friendship that gets us through these tough times. I’ve relied on countless friends … to let me rant, but then talk me down and encourage me to move forward. There is real comfort in that kind of sharing because it lets us know that we are not alone with our worries, pains and fears.”
There is an adage that reminds us not to miss the forest for the trees. That works the other way as well – don’t miss the individual successes and meaningful moments by getting caught up in big-picture stuff that doesn’t affect your daily life. So, maybe 2016 wasn’t so bad after all.
Bob Satnan is the communications director for Sedalia School District 200.