（Contributed by Ben）
When I was young, I assumed that each year the world got better. I imagined that every year, humanity got wiser and closer to perfection. Apparently, I was mistaken. 2016 has not been the best year for me, or for many.
A lot of people talk about ‘the curse of 2016’. The idea is that 2016 has been so bad that it must be ‘cursed’ – filled with evil, so that only bad things can happen. This has been a year full of bad news, war and tragedy. In the West, politics has been full of disagreement and anger. Society is divided, and lives are at risk. It’s been easy to be sad and frightened.
On top of all that, there have been many more celebrity deaths than usual. Famous people die every year, but 2016 has been unusually cruel! Beloved actors, singers and writers, many of them only in their fifties. I was particularly sad that my favourite poet and song-writer Leonard Cohen died. He was 82, so I shouldn’t be surprised. But he was still making excellent music, right up until the week of his death. He was still doing his best work.
But there have been good things in 2016! I can’t remember them at the moment, but I’m sure there were some. At least the year is nearly over now. We all survived, and we all coped with everything that happened to us this year. Where there’s life there’s hope. I’m sure 2017 will be a wonderful improvement.
Good luck, everybody!