What’s that big sound? It is a collective, national exhaling at the relief that we are at the final week of the year.  Most would agree that 2016 was annus horribilis.

The holidays well be a much needed distraction from the woes and worries of the world. This year brought too much suffering, anger, fighting, terrorism. All topped off with fake news that too many people take for truth without question.

Can a time period such as a year really be horrible? This year had 12 months, 52 weeks and 366 days like any other year. A year can be great or bad depending on how our individual lives are going. It’s not a bad year for someone who received a big raise or found a living wage job after a period of unemployment.  It might be called a bad year if a couple was going through a marital break-up or if a loved one passed before their time.

The American people are a good people. We cheer when others win; we cry when others lose, but generally we are on the side of our fellow citizens. Two thousand sixteen gave us plenty of things to cry about, but that should not define us as a nation.

Our nation and our world is too mature for us to look at it through rose-colored glasses, yet, believing in the spirit and the goodness of people should be our default position.

Life is either something that we let happen to us, or we help shape our life. People in general are  not powerless, unless they accept the belief that they are.

Like all things precious, it takes struggle, dedication and perseverence to make life what we wish it to be.

Many may say 2016 was a horrible year and be depressed about what may come in 2017. We can accept what happens without comment or action, or we can, as we Americans always do, rise to the occasion.

They say that life is what you make it; it’s also true that life is what you believe it is.   —LAZ