There have been ups. There have been downs. There will continue to be many more before midnight strikes at the end of December and we hit the collective reset button--pretending that we can move on unaffected by the events of the previous year.
That's where we all go wrong, isn't it? Indeed, we need to fight the urge to move on, and start critically examining how our history continues to live through us in the present moment so we can begin to make better choices moving forward.
Here are the 20 biggest life lessons learned in 2016.
1. Live videos will continue to transform communication and entertainment.
Whether it's your friends or large companies, live streaming videos like Facebook Live have changed the way we consume content--whether you're talking about Chewbacca Mom or human rights violations.
2. Going viral on social media is more valuable than television ads and can win the presidential election.
The old school mentality of paying for cable advertising may not be as effective as free coverage on social media--especially when that content is viral.
Whether you're a content blogger or a presidential candidate, the vast reach of social media will transform the way you approach spreading your message.
3. Spending so much of our lives on our phones is decreasing our ability to be engaged in the present moment.
Why do you think mindfulness meditation and yoga are both billion dollar industries? People are feeling the effects of increased time spent in the digital world.
4. Racism is still alive and well in the US--often resulting in tragedy.
Denial doesn't help--it makes things worse.
Whether it's police brutality, the Flint water crisis, or simply arguing that it's unfair to have a BET and not a white entertainment channel, we need to be more honest with ourselves and start having serious conversations about race in America.
5. We all need to get better at listening to opinions that we disagree with and dislike.
Our nation's inability to tolerate feelings of opposition, like love and hate, increases the divisions that prevent people from feeling understood--and the woundedness of being silenced creates fear and hatred of the other.
6. Virtual and augmented reality will continue changing the way we interact with the world.
One reason Pokemon Go was such a hit was because it satisfied our need to be digitally connected and engaged with the real world. Between that and Oculus Rift, HTV Vive, and Playstation VR--new worlds are just a headset away.
7. Re-creating iconic 90s nostalgia is lucrative and becoming more prominent.
In case you didn't know, Pokemon Cards made a massive comeback in the form of Pokemon Go, Slack is essentially AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) for the office, and Chokers are back in fashion.
What year is it?
8. People crave authenticity--so you need to start taking self-development seriously.
The catalyst of authenticity is self development, so you need to start investing in your personal growth.
9. Binge-watching television series has never been easier, and shows are only going to get better.
Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, Orange Is the New Black, Shark Tank, need I say more?
10. Presidential elections highlight the intensive divisions among US citizens.
Without engaging in critical self-reflection and opening yourself up to new ideas, our collective society won't be able to heal and grow from these conflicts.
11. Digital assistants and artificial intelligence are (finally) becoming more helpful.
Between Siri, Alexa, and Cortana, our digital assistants are getting better at recognizing our voices and providing helpful information--although they are still far from perfect.
12. Attention spans are increasingly short--which means you have to provide value if you want engagement.
Short videos are in. Consumers of digital content want valuable take-away messages without the fluff--so stop sugar coating content and start delivering the goods.
13. Many of us live in isolated bubbles and are surrounded by like-minded people.
Another lesson from the election is that most of us are entrenched within a digital and geographic comfort zone.
14. History repeats itself--so you need to start looking at the larger picture.
Many of the difficult and visible social issues of 2016, along with the rhetoric used to win the presidential election, are familiar to those with historical knowledge.
15. Modern society has too many options--you must be clear on what you value and structure your life accordingly.
It's easy to be overwhelmed with all of the options and default to the social conditioning and scripts you've been taught rather than following your purpose.
16. Flexibility and openness are now required for productivity and personal wellbeing.
Remember to pause and breathe.
17. The difference between "real" and "fake" news is becoming increasingly blurry and you need to know the difference.
You need to develop critical thinking skills and apply them to everything you read.
18. Online shopping and rapid delivery systems are changing the way we shop.
If I had more money, this would be a larger problem.
19. Protests and activism can, against all odds, create positive change.
The brave protesters at Standing Rock stopped the North Dakota Pipeline from being built on their sacred land, and 1.7 million South Korean protesters successfully got their president impeached.
20. Despite all of the changes of 2016, we are resilient.
As the adage goes, old habits die hard. To make 2017 great, you need to reflect, evaluate, and then integrate what you've learned about yourself and the world throughout the previous year.