Dear 2016, Suck It

hangoverDear 2016,

Well, here we are. December 31st. If you’ve got any more surprises up your sleeve–say Harrison Ford dropping dead or Simon le Bon suddenly suffocating, the sudden annexation of Poland by Russian troops-you’ve got less than 24 hours to do your dirty work.

The (not so) funny thing is that you, 2016, you weren’t even close to my worst year. I’ll save that accolade for the Annus Horriblus of 2004-2005, 13 months in which I lost my uncle, my grandfather, and my father in quick succession. Oh, and my oldest son was born with Meningitis. Nothing says suck-ass year like learning your father has terminal cancer followed by wondering if your child is going to live through the night. But well, you were a doozy, 2016. Not only did you steal my favorite actor, you made me question my time left on this Earth by allowing the icons of my youth to shuffle-ball-change off this mortal coil one after the other.

Oh, and then there was all the political stuff.

In June my British husband and I picked our jaws up off the floor as the UK voted to leave the European Union, mere months after we’d finally secured our kids dual citizenship in the misguided expectation all of Europe would be held in those passport pages. In July I watched, with great, gulping sobs, the first American woman receive a major party nomination for president. In November….

Well, we all know how I felt in November.…and December. And possibly how I’ll still feel in January.

Then, a brighter side. In quick succession in November, a duo of writing successes: a big contest win and even bigger accomplishment, securing an agent for my novel. In December, news of a Pushcart Prize nomination. The champagne I’d been saving for a certain occasion (see November), sitting forlorn in the fridge, was put to different use.


When I wake on Sunday morning a new year will have dawned, bright and beautiful. Yet, Alan Rickman will still be dead. Donald Trump will be even closer to being sworn in as he 45th president of the United States of America, LLC, and Teresa May will still be wetting herself trying to figure out how to extricate the UK from Europe. Putin will still be laughing into his vodka, Paul Ryan will still be looking as throat-punchable as ever, women’s reproductive rights will still be under attack.


On Sunday, a child will accidentally shoot themselves and die. A woman will be violently raped. Another will be beaten black and blue. A son will overdose on heroin, a daughter will come out as gay and be disowned by her family. A teenage boy will transition to life as a teenage girl and wobble forward on Bambi legs.

On Sunday, life will go on, the step from one year to the next no more than a countdown on the television, the ticking over of the second-hand on the clock. Bombs will still fall. Lovers will swoon. A heart will be broken, an engagement announced. A child will be born, a grandmother will die, couples will say “I do.”

Sunday will be no different from Saturday. January 1st no different from December 31st. It is both humbling and horrifying, the expectation held in that split second–as powerful as the Big Bang, as mundane as  8:43 ticking over to 8:44 on a random Tuesday in March.

I’ve always been a fan of New Year’s Day, the potential bottled up in a fresh new notebook page of a day. The feeling is muted this year. But, I won’t let you steal it from me completely, you son-of-a-bitch of a year.

You won’t be the last mostly shitty year, 2016. I imagine there will be years that seem tame by comparison and others that make this one look like a cake walk. I imagine I will look back at 2016 the same way I look back at pictures of myself in my 30s, laughing at how old I thought I was.

Thanks for the lessons, 2016. I learned a great deal: Don’t apologize for things that don’t need apologizing. Stop justifying. Stop asking politely, because while kid tested and mother approved, it doesn’t work when it comes to things like equality. Oh, and the most suck-ass-iest lesson of all? You can play by all the rules and life is still going to kick you in the teeth like a blue-balled donkey.

END OF THE NEW YEAR S EVE PARTYPerhaps it’s for the best. 2016 added a few layers of midlife fat to my midlife midriff, but it stripped away a few layers as well. Assumptions were shed like so many of Salome’s veils. Naive expectations crashed like so many tumbling bricks. You were the year, if not without a Santa Claus, than in which I felt like the foundation on which I stood crumbled away underneath me. But you were also the year I learned that I can regain my balance on the smallest of precipice, the tiniest bit of standing rock. Hell, there were days I felt like I could grab a broomstick and fly above the fire of my rage if I needed to.

I won’t lie. I’m not sorry to see the ass-end of you. But I’m ending it stronger than I’ve felt in a long time. Fatter, grayer, more short-tempered, but stronger for sure. If I’ve ever doubted my commitments before, my abilities, my intelligence, my voice than you, 2016–you shit-storm of a year, have taught me that I’m louder than I ever thought possible.



26 thoughts on “Dear 2016, Suck It

Add yours

  1. Happy New Year. We can choose to be personally happy, I think, even while bad things are happening around us. And we will need that happiness to draw on (and some other emotions as well,) as fuel to take on the outer challenges.


  2. Wow – what an article! I feel a bit ashamed having read it, 2016 was “bad” for me in many ways, but nothing nothing near like your 2004-2005. Quite a few points yo made could have come from my heart, too…..but for now, I have all the intention (and this is not a resolution) of doing my little share of making 2017 a happier, healthier year for my little family.
    Dina – I wish you a Very Happy New Year.


    1. Thanks–sometimes it helps to have a year like 04/05 to put things in perspective. I think most of us have something similar–maybe not a calendar year, but a time frame. I think you are doing the best thing you can, making the next year better and brighter for you and your family–I truly believe that’s how change begins. And gosh, I’ve been meaning to write a post about that for a while now, so thank you for the reminder. Happy New Year to you and your family. May 2017 be filled with lots of ‘good’ to offer some balance to the ‘bad’. Be well!


  3. Every time I tell the hubs how awful 2016 has been he reminds me that our kids are happy, healthy and productive and caring adults, that the rest of our families are well and that we are lucky to have one another. All absolutely and indisputably true. But the tail end of the year has me in a funk that I can’t shake. So I’m going to the U.S. for several weeks in January to see my sons, parents and siblings. I need a dose of big kid hugs, chicken soup from my mom and a shopping spree with my sister to get myself back on track. Wishing you and your family a happy, healthy and love-filled year from our home in Den Haag to yours in Copenhagen. Maybe 2017 will be the year I finally set foot in Scandinavia.


    1. Your husband is right….but so are you. Don’t discount how you feel–I think this year has exposed a fault line in the lives of many women, something that’s been hidden by lush green overgrowth and now lay naked and exposed. And while it’s important to continue looking for the good and nurturing it, it’s also important to recognize that fault line. It took me a long time to realize I felt like I was in mourning. For many things, but mostly ideals. For me, it’s important to allow myself the time to work through that. Even if it means I’m angry.

      A trip home for support and succor sounds perfect. I’ve thought about doing it myself. We just had a wonderful week with good friends in the sun and that helped immensely as well.

      If you do make it over, let me know. I’ll buy you a danish (which is not a danish in Danish ;-). ). Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, for sure, those rock stars (actors and actresses) are only getting older and now we are going to see Trump actually sworn in. I have a feeling 17 won’t be much better, but if it makes us stronger, amen.


    1. Somehow I found myself on one of those sites the other day about the age of celebrities..and let’s just say, there are a lot of aging celebrities. It was a tough year for icons for sure. I think I’m just going to skip over January 20th this year. Pretend mightily it didn’t happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well gosh those successes from January are huge Dina! Overdue congratulations to you if I missed that, so happy to hear. And let’s get on with it here and a better ’17. Leave those others in the past. Best, Bill


  6. Hey, that’s a way to look at it. Today I’m spending my day at the coffee shop (doing some last minute reading to finish up the year’s self-imposed quota) and now the sun’s out after a morning full of steady rain. Usually new years eve and day I’m at home and won’t leave the house, but I said “nope–I need to go out and find something good today…and maybe I can swing by the liquor store on the way back home.” Some great conversation’s ensued and I’ve gotta admit, I’m pleased how things have turned out today…maybe I can take a nap and take care of the dog (who hates fireworks, poor thing) now that the neighbors will be making racket after the rain stopped. Time to let her camp out under my desk while I work–Hugs to all and yes, the new digit on the calendar shouldn’t run our lives so…but we can’t help but hope the (theoretically) lucky #7 holds out!


    1. Well, there are some pretty big elections coming up in Europe this year. The only think I can say is that they’ve been wrong with every one of them thus far, let’s see how it goes.


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