2016 was not exactly a fabulous year. If the election were a script, I’d have written notes all over it — words like “unrealistic,” “too arch,” and… a lot of notes on grammar. And let’s not forget the rest of the world… yesterday alone there were at least 3 “breaking news” incidents, which I will leave it to Future Readers to google… if there’s still an internet.
Oh, and so many famous people died.
In order not to sink into an endless cycle of depression (appropriate as it would be), lately Sam and I have begun listing anything that has given us joy this year. I thought I’d share a few of mine, just for posterity.
There are a bunch of things that are not on the list that brightened my year, like my job, Charlie (he entered the scene on December 30, 2015… just missed the cutoff), friends, family… and probably a bunch of stuff pre-election that I’ve just forgotten about. But these are the things that I felt like including. Go figure!
1. Our wedding and honeymoon
Those events don’t always go smoothly, but for us they did, more or less. Dayenu!
I think I’ll always look back at our wedding as that shining time when we thought the future of our country was bright. When we dared to look forward to things like equal rights, a greener planet, federal maternity/paternity leave, and affordable college.
At the time, it might have felt like our wedding was the last scene of a rom-com, where you picture exponential happiness to come. But in retrospect, it was more along the lines of a wedding in a movie like The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, the Godfather… so, you know, one happy thing that happens before all the terrible stuff. Okay, cool cool cool cool cool.
Also, being married has gotten me access to Sam’s sweet sweet union health insurance. (Which is good, because I was on Obamacare.)
We went to Hawaii in November 2015, and November 2016 we kept having little Hawaiian moments, from eating garlic shrimp at Smorgasburg, to witnessing a beautiful rainbow. To top it all off, we went to see Moana. As it turns out, Lin-Manuel Miranda + the Rock + Polynesian singers = me weeping with happiness. (I always weep at animated movies. Turns out that my mostly-gray wardrobe is pretty much a Disneybound of Grandmother Willow, so it’s apt.)
The song “You’re Welcome” was pretty much the first thing after the election that made me smile. It was running on a welcome (ha) loop in my head for days.
3. Lin-Manuel Miranda
He deserves his own spot on the list. He’s the only person who’s had a really good year, I think. I like that he’s not afraid to weep, either.
4. The Yoda music video (Bad Lip Reading)
This was certainly my favorite Star Wars thing to happen this year. It’s pretty much impossible not to laugh/smile while watching Yoda dance and sing.
“That log had a child!”
5. Dogs of Instagram
The Dogist, Puppy Named Charlie, Doggos Doing Things… there are too many to list, but they are all wonderful. Highly recommend, for a pick-me-up.
6. Top Chef is back
We are always happy when Top Chef is back. And this year half the contestants are veteran competitors we love, like Sheldon (Hawaii!) and Brooke (SoCal represent!).
Honorable mention to all other TV shows that have kept us afloat, like People of Earth, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Samantha Bee… thank you for being a friend.
7. HARRY POTTER WORLD!
I know that’s not its real name, but that’s how I always refer to it. We went there last week and it really was a magical place, run by wizards… of money-making.
But it doesn’t change the fact that Snape and Alan Rickman are both dead. 😦
8. Clinique Sweet Pots
This is a late addition because I bought one last night and am currently obsessed with it, as a person who has been suffering from major winter lip-chap.
One one side there’s a sugar scrub that you rub all over your lips to exfoliate them, and on the other there’s lip balm. I tried it on my hand in the store, and my skin still feels super-soft. My lips have gotten a little chapped again since using last night, but that’s winter in CA. You’re only supposed to use the scrub 3x a week, but I’d like to use it CONSTANTLY. (People like me are the reason there’s a warning.)
9. Hanukkah and Christmas falling the same week
Actually, it’s better than that — Hanukkah is mostly AFTER Christmas. I missed pretty much all the arrive-by-Christmas shipping deadlines, but I can play my late Christmas gifts off as Hanukkah gifts. (Best new wife award? Aw, you shouldn’t have.)
I wanted 10 to be about hope, or volunteering with awesome teen girls, or all the good people out there, or Hillary’s makeup-free dog-walking. But I think 10 is just the spot for mourning what 2016 could have been.
Honestly, I’m not confident that 2017 will be an improvement upon 2016. Logic seems to say that it will only get worse. But…
I don’t know, guys. I lost steam. I got sad again. I got to thinking about all the bad things, which seem to far outweigh the good. It’s like we all experienced death we can’t grieve, because it’s killing other things in its wake.
… Maybe in a few years, we’ll all look back FONDLY on 2016 as the calm before the storm.
Isn’t that spooky?