The Year That Went Sideways
Saturday, December 31, 2016 at 8:33AM
Eularee in 2016, 2017, Boomers, Cohen, Glenn Fry, Prince, Trump, ball drop, new year, seniors

Sounds like a great title for a book or a movie, but alas, it seems to best capture the year 2016. Generations have been affected by the loss of so many musicians this year, from Glenn Fry to David Bowie, Leonard Cohen to Prince. I am sure Paul McCartney and Keith Richards are anxiously awaiting the ball to drop before they do.

Everything that we thought would go this way, went that way. It was like dancing with a partner who has two left feet, awkwardly waiting for our toes to be crushed, or dropped in a dip. The loss of a long time job, the pain of a wayward partner, the death of a friend or in my case, a cousin. Even the garden did not grow as it normally does. Would you believe I only had one zuchinni all season? 

I won't even try to dodge the elephant in the room in regards to the political upset of the century. If we needed proof that this was the year that wasn't, we need look no further. It impacted a nation, friends and family, seniors and children. We were all blindsided, hit sideways even until the final count.

You would think the return of cancer would be my biggest sideways move this year, and in some ways, that would be true. Despite a few months of absolute hell and fear for family, I stepped sideways and beat the odds yet again. I don't say this with pride, but with amazement. My beloved Cubs won the World Series, despite moments of doubt and frustration. There are few moments more precious to me than underdogs rising rounding homeplate before the fat lady sings.

If this year teaches us anything, it is that anything can happen and for the most part, will. They say what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. I am not sure that is a good epitaph for 2016. We may be happy to see it go, but the reality is we have no idea what 2017 has up her sleeve. For some this was a banner year. I have mixed feelings since I survived, but yet even the smallest of things, like the breaking of a favorite ornament, remind me that every day is precious. What is here today, may be gone tomorrow. 

The takeaway from 2016 should not be one of relief but of resolution. Enjoy each day, each person, each moment be they trial or triumph. For without love, we can't possibly know what hate looks like. Without sorrow, we are unable to experience joy. For each tear shed, laughter was that much sweeter. Let's resolve to remember the sense of community this year uncovered. Let's agree to disagree and work diligently to listen and work together for the common good. May the close of next year, be one we look back on say, "that wasn't so bad."

Wishing you all, a year that won't be so bad!

Article originally appeared on Eularee Smith • Writer & Educator in Eugene, Oregon (
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