Ah, 2016 – the year which seems to have been officially christened “The Hell Year”. It’s been a year of division – from Brexit to Trump, a year of tragedy – from the Orlando Shooting to the Nice bombing, a year that seems to have taken more than its fair share of people – from famous faces to the invisible masses who’ve lost their lives due to conflict or disease. It is so easy to look back at this year and feel only a sense of sadness and loss, to be so overwhelmed the disasters that we fail to see the times of hope and progress. It is in times like these that it is most important to treasure every moment of joy that you can find. Appreciate every bad joke that makes you laugh, cherish every time you make your friends smile, enjoy the simple pleasures of stepping on frosty grass or a really buttery piece of toast. It doesn’t matter how silly or little these things may seem, if they make you happy then hold onto them, instead of ending 2016 wrapped up in feelings of hopelessness and upset.

Looking back on my own year, yes there’s been times where I’ve cried, where I’ve felt angry and frustrated, where I’ve wanted nothing more than to crawl back into bed and stay there until the world gets its shit together, but there’s also been so many good times. Just over a week ago I went into London with two of my friends. We threw ourselves around the Natural History Museum like kids in a candy store, we sat and had lunch and chatted and laughed, I watched In The Heights (again, and it was just as good as the first time). Sometimes its not big, dramatic, life-changing days which are most important, but just the happy moments which make you look back and smile. It’s sitting in a coffee shop talking about nothing for hours, it’s finishing a good book and instantly wanting to read it all over again, it’s the proud look on my brother’s face as he gave me my Christmas present. And I know that this is ridiculously sappy (I promise that the usual sarcasm will return soon), and I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to proofread it because if I do I’m sure to delete everything I’ve written, but I’m just trying to say that I hope everyone who reads this has at least a couple of moments that make this whole ‘Hell Year’ worthwhile.

It’s 11:47 now, my whole family has gone to sleep, my room is covered in revision cards and photos and sweets leftover from Christmas, and there’s something calm (if not slightly harrowing) about just sitting here writing this on my own, watching the final minutes of 2016 pass before my eyes. The year is drawing to a close, and all that’s left to say is that I hope that 2017 is a year of much less tragedy and much more joy, for each and every one of you. Think about the good things, hug someone you love, and see the new year in with a smile on your face. Take care of yourself x

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