Although the end of year reflection, celebration and new resolutions have become automatic events in modern civilizations, 2016 has packed a punch in a way that no other year in recent memory quite has done. This year has been like going to your favourite restaurant and ordering that delicious pizza, only to discover that upon eating it, it has unexpected spicy flavour which makes you immediately look for water to cool your taste buds.

Many people are this week looking to cool the effects of 2016. Somehow you feel that the vast majority of people who have been scorched by the life episodes of 2016 are looking for something more than just the ordinary end of year social gatherings. So stingy has the year 2016 been. And it was a long year. Quite possibly the number one memory which most of us will take into the new year is the unprecedented presidential election results in the United States of America. The results showed a harsh wake up call to the reality that elitism and main stream media have failed and potentially will continue to deteriorate in relevance to twenty first century lifestyles.

America has positioned itself on another pioneering path. Whether it leads to advancement or anarchy, only time will tell. But the people have spoken. Democracy has prevailed. Or was democracy aided by a former cold-war adversary?

Brexit. That’s a word that is now indelibly etched into the memories of people all around the world. And, yes, we have 2016 to thank for that. The people of Britain voted to leave the European Union in their historic referendum in June 2016. It was the second most consequential political earthquake of 2016. Again, the Brexit vote showed that the age of elitism and traditional political correctness is existing under a setting sun. So shattering was the result that Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, moved out of Number Ten Downing Street, giving way to someone who can lead the country out of the EU. Cameron accepted personal responsibility for the defeat.

The political atmosphere in many of the countries which many of us in less developed countries see as the “Promised Land” means that there is a certain degree of heightened uncertainty and anxiety about whether or not we would be able to migrate to these counties. America and Britain are classic examples. In these countries, many of their current citizens–and policy makers–are showing more and more unwillingness to accept foreigners, refugees or any non-citizens to their soil. Will 2017 be the year of marked deportation and blocked migration to America, England or even Canada?

But perhaps the one thing about 2016 which has shaken the boots off of all of us was the seemingly unusual coincidence of the deaths of many celebrities in the entertainment and literary works spheres of life.This month, December, has taken several such celebrities. It is as though Death feels it has his own deadline to meet before the year ends..

However, life’s analysis, lessons and resultant mood in 2016 must not be determined only by those internationally popular developments. Indeed, to the world most of us is a nobody, but to the one person who values us, we mean the world to them.It is equally important to value your own individual experiences, challenges and lessons in your local part of the world. One of the things that is reverberating in my own mind is the newly passed sentence on a fourteen year old girl, to twelve years in prison for the murder of another teenage girl in 2014. This happened right here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

To me, this sentence marks a definite shift in awareness of the justice system to the growing number of young people who value cursing, fighting, drinking and sexing more than they value respect for authority and traditional values.This judge would have made history in SVG because it is the first time a defendant so young is being sent to prison. Unfortunately, one feels it is not the last time a teenager, or school age child, will be sentenced for committing a serious crime in this country.

I think all of us have been guilty of innocently assuming that at midnight on December 31st, all the unpleasant or unwanted situations of the past year are somehow magically erased and we begin the new year in a new world. That is of course the foundation of a false consciousness. Life’s circumstances do not change just because the calendar changes. I am always mindful that  the many persons whose deaths we mourn each year were most likely alive and well at the beginning of the year. They probably were also celebrating Old Year’s night and New Year’s Day. Little did they know that they were also celebrating the advent of the year in which they would die.

Sadly, I also believe that this Old Year’s night, 2016, there are persons who would be watching the fireworks, drinking the champagne, kissing loved ones and making merry, who would not be around on Old Year’s day 2017. And it can be anyone of us. So, does that mean we should not celebrate the new year? I’m not saying that, but we should be graciously humble in acknowledgement that the new year is just another period along the time line of our lives which will bring its own share of ups and downs.