Why 2016 Wasn’t So Bad

2016 new year concept

Dear 2016,

I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say GOOD RIDDANCE.

I mean, what were you thinking?

Prince AND David Bowie?

Mrs. Brady AND Jason Seaver?

And let’s not forget the Zika virus, Fort McMurray and Harambe the gorilla.

You were an animal, 2016, a complete animal.

On a personal note, you really jerked me around the first part of the year. The sudden loss of our beloved dog – my first baby and my best friend – really threw us. Then some loser stole my car right out of our driveway, taking my sense of personal security with him. A trip to the emergency room in March followed by a bazillion tests, appointments and prodding took us through to spring, when my father-in-law suffered another heart attack and underwent another surgery. We’re fine now but man, you were a real jerk for awhile there, 2016.

You kinda redeemed yourself with those wonderful trips to Italy and Turks and Caicos, though. And you did bring us a new furry family member who is lovely and sweet and making our hearts hurt a little less. And watching my niece, born dangerously premature in 2006, celebrate her tenth birthday was pretty damn amazing.

And you know what? Some pretty cool things happened for women this year. Not equal pay, affordable child care or cancellation of the tampon tax, let’s not get crazy, but Americans did get to vote for a female president, which is progress. I’m choosing to see it as a step in the right direction. Bonus benefit? Pantsuits are BACK.

And then there’s Ashley Graham’s Barbie Doll. When the Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and advocate for body positivity got her own Barbie doll, I thought it was pretty cool. But the best part you guys? HER THIGHS ACTUALLY TOUCH. Repeat: her THIGHS ACTUALLY TOUCH. Can we dare to hope that this is a step towards banning the “plus-size” qualifier in relation to models? Fingers crossed.

Speaking of kick-ass ladies, Canada’s female Olympians simply OWNED IT in Rio. Not only did we make up 59% of the team, but we won all of our country’s first 12 medals. Six of those were in the pool where Canada found a new hero in the form of sixteen-year old high school student Penny Oleksiak. For a few days, Penny’s face was more visible than a Kardashian’s, and we loved every minute of it.

And earlier this month, the Canadian government announced that civil rights icon Viola Desmond would appear on the new $10 bill in 2018. Desmond refused to leave a whites-only area of a Nova Scotia theatre in 1946, nine years before Rosa Parks did the same thing on a bus in Alabama, thereby sparking Canada’s modern civil rights movement and a seventy-year wait for recognition of her courage and determination.

And let’s not forget Chewbacca mom. 2016’s internet sensation wasn’t a cat, a drugged-up toddler fresh from the dentist, or a waterskiing squirrel. It was Candace Payne, a mom from Texas who set the digital world on fire when she uploaded a video of herself laughing hysterically in a Chewbacca mask. 160 million Facebook live views later, she was a star.

Need more proof that 2016 wasn’t all bad?

Well, despite the devastating news of his illness, Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip united a country during their farewell tour this summer. Across Canada we sang, we reminisced, we watched their last show with full hearts and brimming eyes. Gord and his band reminded us about what it is to love your art, your friends and your country.

New child protection laws introduced in Ontario will mean better conditions for the children they serve. The age of protection will increase from 16 to 18 and children will now be able to participate in the decision-making process when it comes to their welfare. If you have experience with this system, you know this long overdue and an important step towards giving a voice to some of society’s most vulnerable kids.

And guess what else? Not only are giant Pandas off the endangered list, but the global wild tiger population has increased for the first time in 100 years. I won’t go so far as to say this was a banner year for endangered species, but we made some progress. Unfortunately though, the guy who killed Cecil the lion is still an asshole.

So I guess what I’m trying to say, 2016, is that you weren’t all bad. Like every year, you had your ups and downs. You took away Brangelina but you brought me recipes for red wine hot chocolate and red wine brownies which, if I’m being honest, really tipped the scales in your favour.

So, as you pack your bags and prepare to head off into the sunset, tell your successor, 2017, to bring it. We’re ready for him.

 

 

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Jen Millard

Author: Jen Millard

Jen Millard is a proud wife and mother of two living in Markham, Ontario. After adopting both her girls at age four, Jen and her husband Daren became passionate advocates for older child adoption, foster care reform and LCBO gift cards. An avid traveller, Jen counts Hawaii, Edinburgh, Greece and Canada’s east and west coasts among her favourite destinations. Jen is happiest when she’s got her nose in a book, a glass of wine at her side and a nap on the horizon. Jen is at her unhappiest when she is talking to her husband about her credit card bill or contemplating working out. When she’s not blogging, Jen is busy cleaning up after three badly-behaved pets and working as a part-time College instructor and Stella & Dot Stylist. Jen and her family spend their summers on Prince Edward Island.

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