Good Riddance 2016

2016_edited-2I know I’m not alone when I say good riddance to 2016. It was the kind of year that will go down in the history books as a year that changed the world.

2016 kicked off with the shocking loss of our Star Man, David Bowie…

The year gathered steam with an unprecedented number of celebrity deaths including Sir Terry Wogan, Alan Rickman, Muhammed Ali, Prince, Ronnie Corbett, Victoria Wood, Andrew Sachs, Caroline Aherne and Leonard Cohen to name just a few, while the line up of musicians who left us in 2016 rivals the list of performers who signed up for Band Aid. Christmas brought a fresh wave of public grief: it was George Michael’s Last Christmas and Debbie Reynolds died of a stroke the day after losing her daughter Carrie Fisher to a heart attack.

ISIS continued to dominate the news with terror attacks on European cities and in the Middle East claiming hundreds of innocent lives. And talking of the innocent, more than two million refugees fled war-torn Syria – often to be confronted by hostility, suspicion and closed borders – and thousands more drowned in their attempt to reach a safe haven. As Calais’s Jungle was dismantled, a xenophobic public demanded proof that ‘child refugees’ were actually children.

In June Britain cheered for the underdog as Leicester City won the Premier League at amazing 5,000/1 odds.

But when the British people voted to leave the EU the same month, I knew anything could happen in 2016…

…and sure enough the American electorate voted in a narcissistic sociopath as the 45th President of the United States just a few months later.

Politically 2017 may look just as bleak as The Trump takes the reigns and Britain begins its complicated negotiations to leave Europe. We can but pray for global peace, as living in terror becomes a way of life. But we can only strike forward into the New Year with hope in our hearts and a resolve to embrace the changes ahead – after all “tomorrow is another day”…

In response to the Daily Post Hopeful

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69 Is The New 27

This year kicked off with a spate of shocking celebrity deaths that sent ripples around the world on a scale not seen since Princess Diana died nearly 20 years ago.

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Apparently, 69 is the new 27, but if you knew you were going to die at 69 – or any specific age for that matter – what impact would this knowledge have? Would you follow a different path or would you simply sit there waiting to die? In fact would you want to know in advance the age at which you were going to pop your clogs?

Might it depend on what exactly that age turned out to be – whether it was decades in the future or only a few years away?   To know that I was going to die relatively young would be devastating. How could I possibly accept that I would not see my children grow up, not be there to celebrate their milestones along the way and never meet my grandchildren? And what about my husband? He is definitely not widower material, so would knowing when I am to die allow me time to help him find someone to take my place?

I certainly couldn’t burden my children with this knowledge and yet it would be an unbearable secret to keep. A secret that would surely affect my outlook on life, shape my personality and ultimately distort their memories of me. Of course for countless people diagnosed with a terminal illness, an imposed time limit is exactly what they face. They may not know the exact age they will exit this world but they have a pretty good idea. I know a woman who upon finding out her mother had cancer feverishly set about creating memories, which begs the question why leave it so late?

So if I found out tomorrow that I was going to die at 69 what would I change? At this stage in my life (on the threshold of 60) I believe that my hunger for a fulfilling future on both a personal and professional level would be no different whether I had a sell by date or not. Whether I have ten years left or twenty-five, I want those remaining years to be the best they can be which is why I am already plotting to change to my life.

Unless death is sudden, resulting from a tragic accident or unexpected illness, most of us has the opportunity to put our house in some sort of order. My father died excruciatingly slowly over a great number of years whereas a friend’s father dropped dead suddenly without warning. For those of us left behind, a slow death provides an opportunity to say goodbye but from the point of view of the dying, I would rather go out with a sudden big bang anytime.

The question is would you want to know when you were going to die…

Thanks to Jeremy Banx and  thereaper.rip for permission to reproduce this cartoon.

[Pip]