A bad year

A crumpled 2016 calendar

By any objective measurement, 2016 has already proven to be a bad year. Heartbreaking celebrity deaths, horrific acts of terrorism, an Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro plagued with a series of problems, a US presidential election that has already gone insane, and a UK election that causes them to leave the European Union. It has also been a bad year for me personally with injuries and illnesses and a difficult situation with a troubled family member.

What can we do when faced with such endless bad news?

Let’s understand that bad times don’t last forever. We will have our vote and choose a president. Some “new normal” will emerge out of the uncertainty. We recover, we adapt, and we find a way forward — because life doesn’t give us a choice.

Let’s also understand that bad times offer us opportunity. We can learn from our mistakes. We can grow stronger from our experiences. We can exercise our creativity, flexibility, and determination in ways we couldn’t in the comfort of better times. Bad times force us to look honestly at ourselves, strip away pretense and delusions, and discover who we truly are and what really matters to us.

This has been a bad year so far, and things can get worse. What matters is what we do during the bad times, what people we become as a result of them, and how we use them to prepare ourselves for the good times to come.