2016 An Epic Dumpster Fire of a Year - But We Can Learn Something

2016 was garbage. 

Seriously. It was an out of control dumpster fire rolling down a mountain of suck straight into a shitstorm. We're even finishing the year with Mercury in retrograde, the losses of both George Michael and Carrie Fisher, and we're about to swear in the former host of The Celebrity Apprentice as the leader of the free world. 

I spent the transition from 2015 into 2016 stranded at O'Hare Airport, and I should have known at that moment to just nope right out of this year and taken a year off in a convent or something. The juju was bad from the get-go. 

Then one by one icons began to die. Not ancient icons we expect to go from old age or the occasional tragic death of a young superstar. The immortal icons that shaped who we became as a generation. The actual inventors of pop culture. We had posters of them on our walls, their music in on our playlists, we know their movies by heart, their sitcom roles were the closest thing some of us had to parents. It was jarring to lose only a few, devastating to lose as many as we did. 

As the year ends with the fresh losses of George Michael and Carrie Fisher, we again look into our own mortality. The common thread with the well-known people we've lost this year has been fearlessness. They all had an element of "Fuck the Man" in them in one way or another, and it was a courage we borrowed for ourselves. We applied it to our own realities. These weren't just famous people, they were personal champions of ours. Would the transgendered recognition, acceptance, and tolerance conversation even be happening right now if it weren't for Alexis Arquette and Pete Burns living their truth? 

These last few days of 2016, full of fresh losses that make us want to shake our fist at the sky and tell this year to just fuck off already, is really an opportunity for us to go into the new year learning something and with a fresh perspective. Yeah, life sucks. Life sucks royal sometimes. I wish I could hit rewind and do just about everything over again this year. 

That's not possible. That's complaining and navel gazing. What we need to learn from this is the appreciation of the fearlessness these people shaped our world with and to go into 2017 living our own personal truth. We have learned that life is fleeting this year and no one is immortal. Neither are we. But here we are, eyes open, living, breathing, getting the days our heroes didn't. So maybe let's not waste them. 

Be fearless and live your truth. Think of the impact people we didn't even know had on us by doing exactly that. Imagine the impact you can have on yourself and everyone around you. 

Jennifer Gulbrandsen