2016 - Thanks For Leaving!
One Icon After Another
It's not too far of a stretch to say that 2016 has been a rough year for a lot of people. For only the third time in American history, we've seen a man win the presidency without winning the popular vote, and people are still railing against that. The run up to the election was long, and it was nasty, and by the time Donald Trump walked away as the United States' president-elect, we were all exhausted - yes, even Canadians were fed up with the whole thing, and are now casting a wary eye down south to see what's going to happen post-inauguration, when Trump has the chance to actually put some of his ideas in motion. Jokes aside about the man who is becoming our president, the reality is, he will have a chance to show what he can do to run the country, so we can only hope he will do what is ultimately the best for it.
But that wasn't all that 2016 held. No; we also lost several beloved icons, and that is perhaps what's harder to take. David Bowie. Prince. Alan Rickman. Zsa Zsa Gabor. Alan Thicke. Florence Henderson. George Michael. Leonard Cohen. Arnold Palmer. Gene Wilder. Garry Marshall. Muhammad Ali. Morley Safer. Chyna. Harper Lee. Merle Haggard. Carrie Fisher. While the list continues of the countless celebrities lost, just this brief list of icons that I've put here put us all back on our heels and left us wondering, "Who next?"
It's led some to think that the year itself has been cursed.
With each new name that we've grown up with appearing on the list of those we've lost this year, we have grieved. The latest - actor Carrie Fisher, best known for her role as Princess, and then General, Leia Organa in the Star Wars series - has been a tough one for many, but that doesn't mean the others haven't been tough. In fact, some have viewed the "curse of 2016" with a dry sense of humor, suggesting that in the three days that remain of 2016, we'd best not lose any others.
But seriously - WTH with 2016?
Don't Take Betty White!
The Terrible Part About Growing Older
As we get older, the unfortunate reality is that the icons we grew up with and loved are also getting older. We want to be able to recapture our youth, and it's through our icons that we think there is that piece of our youth that will always be there, somehow.
So, when we learn of the deaths of our icons - the musical or acting heroes that we've long looked up to or at the very least looked to for inspiration - it comes as a crushing blow. We feel as though something has conspired against us to rob us of something we've loved so dearly.
The problem is, although we continue to age and move on with our lives, we forget the fact that our heroes are also aging. We forget that they are dealing with their own demons and other issues. When we learn that they have passed, it feels as though we need to blame someone for what is, in reality, a natural part of life.
It's too easy to fault 2016 as a whole as being "cursed" somehow for the losses of so many of our beloved icons, but the bottom line is that they're getting older just as we are.
Take David Bowie, for instance. Though he was only 69 when he passed, he had been diagnosed with liver cancer a year previous. The average age of onset for liver cancer is around 63, according to Cancer Center, which puts Bowie as just as prone - just as human - as the rest of us. Carrie Fisher died following complications from a heart attack. George Michael of heart failure. Yes, these stars may have had a rougher lifestyle than most of us, but the fact of the matter is, they are as much a victim of time and aging as the rest of us.
Does that knowledge make these deaths somehow easier to take? Absolutely not, but we can't fault the year itself for these deaths. We do have a need to point fingers, of course, when something we don't like happens, but the bottom line is, as tragic and unfortunate as these deaths are we have to be mindful that our icons are human, too.