By Dr. Pierre Bland

Here we are in the closing days of 2016. As per tradition, if not more by instinct we take a look back at the year, how we fared, good and bad, succeeded and failed, gained and lost. Top 10 lists of the most interesting people, events, happenings and tragedies permeate electronic and social media, and I even know a few people who create their own list … throughout the year.

Such introspection once was reserved for the end of the year as we commemorated the “old times” of the past months. Now the “old times” are documented and dismissed in a matter of minutes as one’s current location is posted along with the most recent selfie and a photo of your meal.

I guess it is a significant accomplishment: The age-old struggle of hunting and gathering has been compressed into a point, shoot, post and comment activity.

We no longer need the walls of caves to document our exploits and triumphs for prosperity, just a sufficiently charged smartphone and a social media account. It is probably a truer reflection of our nature as we have progressed as a society that we record and report our lives from a minute-to-minute basis as opposed to a 365-day collective.

On social media, the ubiquitous indignities, harsh political winds and fake news stories of just over a month ago have been replaced by photos and animations of pets in holiday garb, personal greetings, and harsh consumerism. Messages of support for favorite sports teams, new year’s wishes, and photo collages are soon to follow.

Though more often than not, the messages seem trivial, there are instances in which these messages have given voice and visage to black- and all-lives mattering, protest against social injustice, and beginning seasons of political change.

As is often demonstrated with developing technology, it is a matter of how we use the tool, though oftentimes it seems the tool is using us. I am a vocal critic of social media and accuse many of my mature friends of posting like 16-year-old girls. I do use social media on a daily basis and offer my sincere apologies to 16-year-old girls everywhere, as it has become not only a tool, but an intricate part of our lives.

So as we approach 2017, I wish everyone all the best in health, love, and life. Have fun and treat one another the way you would want them to treat your mama … on and off social media.

And remember: Everyone didn’t make it out if 2016 alive. Count your blessings that you did.

Dr. Bland is a practitioner in Oakland Park, FL. He can be reached @954 673-8579.