OPINION: How to measure a year

BY ANNA MINTON (’16)

Everywhere you look, people are all trying to sum up 2014 in the easiest way possible. Whether it’s by the Russia- Ukraine crisis or the newfound tolerance of gay-marriages, everyone is trying to do a recap of the past year. The big question is, however: How do you do it?

There are plenty of different ways to go about summarizing 2014. One way is to go over everything horrible that happened. This might be the easiest path to take. No one can disagree that a lot of terrible things happened in 2014.

You could talk about the Ebola crisis, or the Malaysian airplane disappearance, or the kidnapping of 276 girls in Nigeria, or the death of Robin Williams, Maya Angelou, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Joan Rivers… the list goes on and on.

But what do you get out of this approach? Other than an extremely depressing list that could give any sane human being nightmares, not much really.

Or, if you’re going for the more optimistic approach, you go look at only the good things that happened in 2014. While this one’s a bit trickier, it’s much more gratifying.

You can look at the Winter Olympics, or the intentions for improved relations with Cuba, or the newfound tolerance of gay-marriages…. and that’s about it.

Okay, while this list may not go on and on, it’s a heck of a lot happier than the previous summary. This method can give you a more positive outlook on life, but it may not give you a realistic one.

The final way to sum up 2014 is to focus on the little things, versus the big things. Everywhere I’ve looked, people are focusing on celebrities and politicians, and what happened in their lives. Instead of focusing on what effected millions of people, why not take a closer look at what happened to just one person?

Someone made a friend. Someone got married, and someone else got divorced. A tiny child started kindergarten, and a not-so-tiny child started college. A person was hurt, and a person was healed. Someone died, and a child was born.

While this might not be the most interesting way to study 2014, it’s the most important way. This way, the world can be reminded that there are other ways to measure a year.