From Where I Sit – Good Riddance 2016

Is it just me or was there more than the usual widespread angst in 2016? Some of it was global in the ferocity and atrocity of war. But, for many, I suspect those images and inconvenient reality are easy enough to ignore. I certainly haven’t been moved to take direct action.

Then there’s been the continuing, tortuous, over-the-top, mind-blowing drama of the US election cycle. The orange one has shocked and dismayed so many of us. Only in retrospect will we understand his true impact. And yes, it will affect us in Canada too. It’s just one more uncertainty that plagues economists and markets. At least our know-it-all brother-in-law will of course, have the answer at Christmas dinner.

If you are a farmer 2016 has been a year of one damn thing after another. On a personal note, we’ve managed to get the canola we did finish harvesting dry enough that it could be sold. Thank God. Of course, the cost of bringing down the moisture content by the grain company was subtracted from the final cheque amount. All the costs we incurred getting it to that point already cut into our disposable income. Cattle farmers have had additional challenges with feed, bedding, and the delay to the normal fall animal husbandry activities. But, with the usual (misguided) farmer mindset, the battle cry is ’next year will be better.’ Then, at the end of your life or farming career, you look around and realize, oh shit, it never did get better!

Maybe you were one of the tens of thousands who lost your job, got a buy-out, had your hours cut, or just gave up trying to get a position. Maybe you’re living on employment insurance, savings, social agency programs, or the kindness of strangers. Maybe you are in dire straits. Maybe you’re one of those Canadians whose ratio of debt to disposable income rose to 167.6 per cent. Ouch. The US fed has raised the interest rate by a quarter percent with three more increases likely in 2017. Can Canada be far behind in following suit? Perhaps you’re losing sleep wondering how the carbon tax will affect you in 2017. Or waiting to see the changes to the income tax rules next year.

While Queen Elizabeth didn’t invent the Latin expression, annus horribilus (horrible year), she did use it in a 1992 speech. An abolished monarchy, separation, divorce, affairs, scandals, Diana’s tell-all book, phone leaks, and fire ruffled the unflappable monarch.

Wikipedia tells me there is a complementary annus mirabilis (wonderful year). May I suggest that after we do the whole Christmas thing and white knuckle our way through those last days of December, we psych ourselves up for annus mirabilis! Isn’t that half the fun of starting a new planner or journal? The pristine pages of possibility, the fresh start, the chance to try again to make the year memorable and beautiful and fun.

Dear Reader, may you enjoy the blessings of the season and the possibility of a wonderful new year.

Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.

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