Stop Blaming 2016

With Carrie Fisher’s passing, folks are at it again:

  • “2016? Really?”
  • “2016 – You’re so fired!”

Folks, 2016 had nothing to do with it. 2016 is an artificial construct — a number that we put (and I emphasize, *we put*) on a collection of days starting at some arbitrary point. In this case, where ever the Pope decided to put January, and counting from what was then around the birthday of some Jewish carpenter. Why aren’t we saying, 5777, you’re so fired, or whatever Chinese year it is, or whatever the Islamic calendar is.

Furthermore, if  you’re the religious type, why aren’t you blaming God? After all, doesn’t God dictate what happens in the world? Doesn’t God work in mysterious ways, bringing people up to heaven (or sending them to you-know-where) for whatever reasons he wants? When a loved one dies, don’t we say, “There, there. They are with God now, in his warm embrace.” So go ahead, get pissed at God for taking Carrie Fisher and George Michael and Prince and all these other people. While you’re at it, get mad at God for taking all those good people that did nothing to deserve it, the children around the world, the people in Aleppo, the babies that dies of Ebola and Zika and Cancer and all sorts of horrible things. Oh, and blame God for taking Castro as well.

But we don’t blame God, do we? We blame 2016.

We can’t admit the truth. Neither God nor 2016 had anything to do with it. God may not even exist (or if God does, he (or she) might have a deistic view of things, setting the universe in motion and letting it play out.

Blame Time. After all, they named Trump “Man of the Year”.

Seriously, blame time and coincidence.

Time is relentless. It marches on, and we have no way of stopping it. People grow older, and they die. Furthermore, as we grow older, our icons grow older as well. We reach a point where a lot of our icons — from stage, screen, literature, and politics — are growing older as well. Growing older has a price. Death. It is something we will all face one day. So we grow older, our icons grow older, and the seemingly all seem to die in a bunch. Or at least those of whom we care more die in a bunch, and it hits us harder. It makes us realize that they are near our age, and as they are passing away, could we be next?

But all of these celebrities, and even Fidel Castro, have one thing we may not have. They’ve done big things, and these things will live on long after they die. Castro will live on in his impact on the people of America and the people of Cuba. John Glenn will live on for his achievements. So will Justice Scalia. As will Carrie Fisher, who will live on forever in the Star Wars mythology. As will George Michael, in his music.

But will we? Who will remember us?

So go on. Do something big. Make it so that you are remembered in this world even after you pass. Live on — not in a highway name or a name on a building, but in the hearts of those you have touched through your actions. Create the stories that they will tell in the future.

But stop blaming 2016.

My condolences to Debbie Reynolds, the Fisher family, her friends and their families. My condolences to everyone who has lost someone they have loved this year. They will live on in your memories and the stories you tell about them to your children and others.