It is common for professional sports teams to film their own games for later review. Doing so allows players to identify what went well, what went poorly, and what adjustments they can make in order to have a better outcome next time.

Occasionally however, a team will play so poorly that film review would be a pointless exercise. If a hockey team loses a game 8-0, odds are that just about every player underperformed at just about every moment in the game. In such a situation, there are no lessons to be learned from studying game film, no positives to draw, and no minute adjustments to be made. And so the coach will give a simple command:

“Burn the tape.”

Well, November has been a burn-the-tape kind of month. Between all the stress over the bar exams, a shocking result in the American presidential election, the environment at work taking a decided turn for the worse, two blow-ups with my family, and relationship issues, it has been an awful month. One of the worst ever. Tomorrow morning I will practically skip to my calendar to flip the date over to December.

The thing is, real life isn’t like hockey. In hockey, no matter how well or how poorly the previous game went, the next one always starts with the score 0-0. A fresh slate. In real life, all of the problems of November 30th will still be there on December 1st. In hockey, when your team loses a game 8-0, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll win the next game, but you can bank on the next one being better. In real life, there are no such guarantees. November has been bad, but there’s no guarantee that December won’t be worse. That’s scary.

But I’m confident, or at the very least I’m hopeful. Partly because I have to be, and partly because I genuinely believe that things will get better. They have to.

I’ve known for a while that 2016 was going to be an extremely important year in my life, and while I didn’t picture things ending up quite like this, I fully expected December of this year to be critical.

For once, I was right. Here we go.