The Year You Were Born: What I’ll Tell My Son About 2016

Dec 30, 2016

The end of 2016 is almost upon us, and for many, it can’t come soon enough. There’s something about this year that has felt particularly wearing — every time we picked up a newspaper or turned on the TV it seemed like we were met with bad news. Rumblings about this being “the worst year ever” began before the year was even half over, and for good reason. From Aleppo to Zika, things have been pretty grim on a global scale.

On a personal level, though, this has been one of the best years of my life, and I suspect that the same is true for anyone who welcomed a new baby, or celebrated a major milestone or achievement in 2016 (congratulations, by the way!). To say that I have mixed feelings about 2016 is an understatement. So, here I sit, with a blank baby book page staring back at me, wondering what I can tell my son about the world in the year that he was born. I imagine that it might look something like this…

The year you were born: 2016

A litre of milk cost: $3
A loaf of bread cost: $2.50
A head of cauliflower cost: $2. And then $8. And then $2. No one really knows why.

The Canadian Prime Minister was: Justin Trudeau

The President of the United States was: Barack Obama

The most popular song this year was: “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake. He used to be in a musical group called ‘N SYNC, back when you could still buy music on a cassette tape. Remind me to tell you about cassette tapes one day. Fascinating stuff.

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The most popular movie this year was: Probably something to do with The Avengers? Don’t quote me on that. Your brother turned three this year, so the only movie that I remember watching was Cars, approximately two billion times, give or take.

Major events and headlines: You may have heard some things about 2016 being “the worst year in the history of forever.” That’s not entirely true. On the plus side, more than 37,000 Syrian refugees were able to escape conflict in their homeland and resettle here in Canada. Canadian athletes had a pretty stellar year at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. And puppies are still a thing, so that’s pretty great.

As for the bad things that happened this year (and there were many), by the time you’re old enough to read this, you’ll probably already know about the worst of them, because they will continue to shape our world for years to come. As much as we try to shield you from the darkness in the world, one day you will discover that bad things happen, no matter how much we wish that they didn’t. Sometimes those things will leave you feeling deflated, and defeated. But you are never helpless. A man named Mister Rogers once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Behind all the awful headlines of 2016, there were plenty of people reaching out to help each other, trying to make a positive difference in the world. So look for the helpers, my love. And if you can’t find one, then be one.

Oh, and don’t ever pay $8 for cauliflower. That’s just silly.

An image of Mr Rogers with the quote about looking for helpers overlaid on the image.


Article Author Alicia McAuley
Alicia McAuley

Read more from Alicia here.

Alicia McAuley is a freelance writer, editor and all-around web nerd who never met a pop culture reference she didn't like. The former editor of a parenting website, these days she shares a home office in the suburbs with her husband, two adorable boys, and two lazy cats. You can find her cracking jokes on Twitter @aliciamcauley and pinning projects for her to-do list on Pinterest.

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