My Year, Your Year, let’s call the whole thing off

Year in review

By Richard H. Weiss

If you are on Facebook, then you probably have seen this My Year thing going around. 

If you haven’t, My Year is a kind of digital version of the holiday letter with pictures of you showing highlights of what you shared throughout the year. Facebook automatically generates the content for you, but allows you to tweak it as you see fit. If you go with the default version, the introduction will say, “It’s been a great year. Thanks for being part of it.”

I am conflicted about this My Year thing. First, I want to know whether this is a meme. I use the word because I would like all of my Facebook friends to know that I am at least as intelligent as people who are on NPR. They use words like this with great authority. I kind of know what it means but would probably flunk the multiple choice on the GREs if the choice of definitions were close. (This word has been around for ages. But it seems like people only started using it. Kind of like when sushi suddenly surfaced in the ’70s.)

Once I get through that thought process I move on to whether this is something my friends are sending me so that I will feel envious. Of course, if you are on Facebook, you can’t help but feel envious even if your friends are sincerely just sharing good news about themselves. They assume that if you are their friend, you will be happy for them. Here I must admit that I am a pretty terrible person because I am 100 percent thrilled only when the good news comes from my kids and my wife. Most other relatives — not all — are in the 99 percent category. Best friends in the 90s, then it begins to nosedive to negative numbers for so-called frenemies. 


I don’t even know what I would do if one of my friends had a My Year revealing that he/she won one of those MacArthur genius grants worth more than half a million dollars to do with what you please. I might defriend that person on the spot. Or perhaps I would write a lovely comment and make sure every one of my friends saw it and knew that this MacArthur person is my super best friend. Maybe I would even put it in my own My Year, perhaps with a picture of the two of us, even if it is a sixth grade class picture with Mr./Ms. MacArthur in the top row and me in the first row.  

But then I think, maybe I can put something in My Year that will make my friends more envious of me than I am of them. For instance, I lost my glasses three months ago, but my wife found them for me a month ago. Eat your hearts out. I am not going to share that we both lost our car keys, then found one set just after we hired a locksmith for a pretty penny to replace them. I do not want to promote schadenfreude. (Another NPR word, and I know what it means. If you are on Facebook, so do you.)

Here’s another terrible-person confession: I have only called up a few of these My Year memes, if that is what they are. Some friends I simply don’t like enough to spend even 30 seconds with their My Year. How horrible is that? I hate myself. If you are one of those friends — and you don’t know who you are — you should hate me, too. 

Of course, all that makes me think that if I do a My Year, lots of my friends will skip right by me. If I don’t get a “like” on My Year from every one of my friends, I will be left to wonder. They didn’t see it? They skipped it? They read it and thought it was pathetic? They read it and were so green with envy they refused to like it? Of course, I could send them a message asking them why they didn’t “like” My Year. But that, I have come to conclude, is authentically pathetic. And anyway, I have a feeling that I would get an inauthentic response.

“I thought your My Year was outstanding. I am so proud of you. But my toddler threw up just as my finger was moving to ‘like’ your My Year, and when I came back to my iPad I found this cat video that was So. Uber. Adorable.”

So. My. Friends.  Don’t look for a My Year from me. No way. No how. Not unless someone publishes this. That’ll make my year. And you’ll be hearing from me.