Wednesday, December 28, 2016

RIP 2016

A data analytics view on why so many important people seem to be dying:

1) Because they are. As we get older the population increases. Statistically more people are born this year than the previous year. Along with record number of births comes record number of deaths. As baby boomers pass away you'll see this number increase as well.

2) Our access to information and social media connectivity is higher than ever. In less-connected times we discovered deaths much later. "Did you hear so and so died?" "Really? When? No way!" That's a conversation of the past. Now I know within hours of the person passing. Earlier this year I heard about an earthquake on social media before I actually felt it.

3) The number of celebrities we care about and how much we care about people increases as we get older. As we mature and go through self-discovery we think more and more people are important to our lives and attribute them to our identity. Celebrities died when we were children but we cared less. We didn't know who they were and they didn't matter to us. I bet you do remember when a family member passed away though.

My point on this is not that you are dumb for caring about celebrity deaths. I'm just looking at it in an analytical way. From a pure math perspective, 2017 will have even more important-people-deaths. What I want to talk about next is how you can try to mitigate the feeling of loss by controlling the variables above.

#1 is basically uncontrollable. Population control is something China tried out and it's not gonna happen..

#2 can be minimized by limiting social media. Being less plugged-in and paying more attention to living in the moment. Remember what life was like before social media? Yeah. It's like that.

#3 Stop caring so much about celebrities. Maybe the loss of Prince, Robin Williams, or Ali really effected your life. It's nice to remember the accomplishments, impact, achievements, and the message they wanted to leave to this world.

Lastly I want to leave you with the message to remember to appreciate people while they are still alive. How many times did you reach out to Carrie Fisher? Did you send her fan mail to talk about how her performance in movies really effected your life? Or maybe you took time out of your day to attend a talk she had about mental health. Chances are, you didn't. I don't know why people pretend to care about things they don't. Maybe to fit in or maybe for attention. If you didn't care enough to interact and show appreciation while they were alive then why do you suddenly care now that they are dead? If there is someone in your life that you will miss when they die, don't wait until they die to show your appreciation.