• 12.12.16

“Me At The Beginning Of 2016” Meme Shows How This Year Nearly Destroyed Us All

A meme that’s been sweeping through Twitter recently uses pop culture images to explain the debilitating effects of this most cursed year.

“Me At The Beginning Of 2016” Meme Shows How This Year Nearly Destroyed Us All
Me at the beginning of 2016 vs. Me at the end of 2016. Based on the tweet by David/@xmagic_dustx

This year didn’t waste any time letting the people unfortunate enough to inhabit it know what kind of year they were in for. The first real pulling of the rug out from underneath us was the unexpected death of David Bowie. Following this shaky start, 2016 spent its ensuing months pulverizing us mercilessly with that rug.


Bowie’s passing was shortly followed by Alan Rickman’s demise later that same week, setting the whiplash pace for 12 months of similar surprises. Within weeks, Dirty Grandpa was released into theaters, and all became the bleakest shade of bleak. Beyond celebrity deaths and bad movies, though, the most contentious election in modern political history hung over the long, punishing lead-up to November 8th. Depending on who you voted for, every day since the election has been worse than the previous day. But no matter your politics, this was by most accounts one nightmarishly endless bad day; like, “the final act of Carrie“-level bad day.

[Photo: United Artists/Archive (“Carrie”, 1976)]

Despite Newsweek‘s recent claim that every year seems like the worst year ever, 2016 just seemed to bring something special to the table at every turn. Whether it was watching people die on Facebook Live or the Brexit vote or that kid who got eaten by an alligator in front of his parents at Disney, 2016 was a year of constant trauma. As it comes to its conclusion, though, and we pretend that there’s some kind of a reset rather than a steady continuation, a new meme has emerged to categorize our collective exhaustion.

“Me at the beginning of 2016 vs me at the end of 2016” is a simple, funny celebration of the end of a brutal year. Twitter users post two pop culture pictures connected in some ways to show how the last 12 months have deteriorate their mind, body, and soul. One of the most common examples is Kate Winslet’s vivacious young Rose in Titanic as the beginning example, and Gloria Stuart’s aged, diamond-destroying Rose as the end one. Some users skipped movies, though, and opted for examples for video games and musicians to get the point across. There are frankly as many possibilities for participating as there were ways in which 2016 was a landfill full of other landfills.

Have a look at some of our favorites below.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.