Rarely do I get to the end of a year and not have much positive to say about it. Even 2008, which was for me probably one of the worst years in my life, was actually a great year ultimately. Although I have always described myself as a pessimist, I feel I'm actually underselling myself a bit. I'm actually a far more positive person than I give myself credit for, and have turned rubbish times into good on many an occasion.
And 2016, for me personally, was not ultimately a bad year. I had three amazing holidays abroad for a start. Not including the Big Irish Road Trip and watching one of my best friends get married while on it. I had many amazing meals out, great times with friends and family. I felt accomplished and appreciated in my work. I didn't lose any weight, which was my main issue, but all in all 2016 was a good year for me.
But . . .. what 2016 has had, which I have never really experienced before, is an extreme amount of loss. For all of us as a nation.
It does seem like we lost a lot of icons in 2016.
By the time it hit February of this year, there were already a significant amount of celebrity deaths. Within the first few months of the year, I actually started composing a blog post about some of the people who had already gone, some people who had been a big part of my life growing up or had just cast an impression on me that I hadn't maybe realised at the time. I gave up on it. I couldn't put it into words properly. Looking back now, if I'd decided to leave that post until the end of the year, it would probably be dissertation length.
So over the year, as more and more icons from my youth passed on, often unexpectedly, myself and the fella discussed it and wondered if 2016 was actually The Year of Death as it seemed, or if in fact it was just that as we get older it's inevitable that more of the famous folk who were in our lives growing up are leaving us. It seemed logical, yes. But at the same time, it does feel like there was more tragedy this year than others.
(And I'm not even going to go into Trump getting voted into power. That's a whole other ball game.)
Anyway, last week we finished up work early thanks to it being the last day in the office before Christmas. And, in the pub, we all spoke about 2016 and the amount of celebrities who had died, and agreed (somewhat morbidly) that there had to be another big death before the end of the year. I actually said I thought there would be two. 2016 had been that much of a shitter in that respect.
That was the 23rd December.
Since then we've had Rick Parfitt, George Michael, Liz Smith, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds pass on. In six days. I'm sure I'm missing other significant people who we've lost in that period of time too.
This does not seem like a normal year to me. To me 2016 is the year that just kept on taking.
I've noticed people on social media say that we haven't lost any more people this year than we have any other year. I saw someone on twitter say they couldn't wait until 2017 so people would see that people were still dying and 2016 had been no different from every other year. And, like I said previously, we even thought ourselves that perhaps it was just to do with our age that it seemed more prevalent now than any other year.
I genuinely though do feel for definite now that 2016 has been different from previous years.
But I hope it is a one-off in that respect. I hope 2017 is better, I hope we don't lose as many icons.
Most of all though, if 2016 has taught us anything, it should be to appreciate those around us while we still have them.
Whether it's family, friends, or even the celebrities we grew up with who we almost think of as part of the family because they've been in our lives for so long.
Let's make sure they know how much they are loved.