Here & there: 3 cheers for 2016

Stock image, St. George News

OPINION — Hello, 2017. Goodbye, dear 2016. No, I’m not being facetious, although after all the hate mail our year now in the rearview mirror got, you’d think I was.

Carrie Fisher portrait. Undated | Public domain photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons, St. George News
Carrie Fisher portrait. Undated | Public domain photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons, St. George News

Look here, 2016 haters. This is your reality check. You can go ahead and stop telling the whole year to go blank itself. Yes, several celebrities died. Good ones like David Bowie, Muhammad Ali, Carrie Fisher and John Glenn. (I really liked Wham! and Princess Leia was totally my hero, too.)

But, c’mon, people. Are we really going to let celebrity deaths define the success of a whole year – 12 months of our lives?

If that’s the case, then we better prepare for 2017. Every year the number of “famous” people increases. Logically, the number of celebrity deaths increases as well. MIT did the research. You can’t argue with MIT.

I am not diminishing the talented people who died in 2016. They made contributions to art and science and culture. They will be missed.

But our current standard for celebrity is lower than it should be. And if we are judging a year good or bad on the fulcrum of celebrities, we’re sliding down a slippery slope.

Case in point: Kylie Jenner. What’s making her famous these days? Sharing with the world that “realizing stuff” is what’s in store for her in 2017. It’s her thing. And, yes, she has 82 million Instagram followers.

That is dangerous – she is dangerous – if celebrity lives equate to our happiness.

John Glenn portrait, Undated | Public domain photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons, St. George News
John Glenn portrait, Undated | Public domain photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons, St. George News

Henry Ford cautioned, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

The same extends to almost anything. Whatever you think – you’re right. If you think the year stunk – you’re right. If you think the year was great – you’re right.

I read recently somewhere that optimism isn’t so much a trait you’re born with. It’s more of a trait you learn. That’s phenomenal news.

We can learn to be optimistic. We can choose to be optimistic.

I’m not talking about Pollyanna optimism where everything is fine and dandy even when it’s clearly not. I’m talking about a grounded optimism where you look for the best in a situation.

Regardless of the celebrity deaths, I’m genuinely a little sad to see 2016 go. Good things happened in those 12 months. Things that may never ever happen again.

Maybe not on a world or national level, but on a personal level: my youngest lost his first tooth and learned to tie his shoes; my kids met and really bonded with one of my favorite cousin’s kids; and my husband and two of my boys helped reunite a lost dog with her owner.

And regardless of which celebrities die in 2017, I’m going to make it the best year I can – developing myself, investing in others and fighting for things I believe in.

Kat Dayton is a columnist for St. George News, any opinions given are her own and not representative of St. George News.

Email: katdayton@gmail.com | news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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