*As a Brit, I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but it just occurred to me that this is a totally apt post to coincide with the big US holiday. Nice bit of good timing!*
Now we’re quickly heading to December, I can’t help but look back and think it has all been fairly rubbish on both a micro and macro level. Over the last several months I’ve written on here and elsewhere about the mental health struggles which have dominated my year, while two weeks ago I shared my lament for the post-Trump, post-Brexit world. Things have not improved in the meantime. On the contrary, even the mere suggestion that Nigel Farage should be the next British ambassador to the US shows that a whole lot more s*** could hit the fan in the months and years ahead.
From my perspective, probably the most redeeming feature about this year is that it has flown by in a flash. 2017 in already looming and it can’t come quick enough – but where has the current calendar disappeared to?
With only five weeks left until January, I was bemoaning the general crapness of this year when my partner gently pointed out that it hadn’t been all bad. We had been travelling around Japan, he reminded me. We’d also had other lovely adventures, like our impromptu weekend at the Cheltenham Literary Festival.
What if 2016 has actually been a bit good? Is this a totally crazy notion or can I actually find evidence to support it?
So I had an idea. What I need is a visible aide-mémoire that focuses on the good bits of 2016 so that I don’t write the entire twelve months off in one dramatic swoop. In particular, I want a list of good things about this year which includes personal highlights, global good news and lovely events from others’ lives.
I asked around on social media and here’s what we came up with, and *huge* thanks to my lovely friends and readers for their openness and generosity in sharing. It is certainly some list. You people are amazing!
Good things about ’16
1 Our amazing trip to Japan
2 My relationship with my partner grew stronger in both adversity and joy
3 Went on a beautiful and powerful retreat
4 I’ve seen lots of my friends, old and new, and we’ve had some great times together
5 New work direction and purpose
1 The Planet Earth II series – how amazing is the natural world despite all its challenges? The craziness of the snakes ganging up on the baby iguana is grizzly but awe inspiring too.
2 The fairytale of Leicester City Football Club winning the English Premier League (and their lovable, slightly eccentric manager Claudio Ranieri – his ‘dilly ding, dilly dong’ catchphrase being just one of his great moments last season).
3 The excitement of the UK Women’s Hockey team getting their first ever gold medal after a penalty shoot out at the Rio Olympics
4 The Chicago Cubs breaking their 108 year wait to win Major League Baseball’s World Series (and this moving tribute to fans who didn’t live to see this success)
5 And an important headline from Australia (thanks Rachel!): Melbourne firefighters save tiny black kitten from Rebels bikie gang clubhouse fire
Others’ good news
‘I sold my house and all of my belongings, moved into a van, traveled around the world, and met you Melissa and Jennifer at a little coffee shop in London. ❤’ Alicia
‘This year WAS total shit. And yet. Antidepressants, which changed my outlook and lifted the grey fog that had dulled life for so long. Breast self exams, which found my cancer in an early stage, insurance to pay for surgeries. 17 years with the best doggie ever. Finally founding the best panties ever.’ Amie
‘I’ve been inspired by your piece on alternative advent calendars to buy an assortment of inexpensive makeup and toiletries and will have a DIY alternative advent calendar! Another one: Stu, Joey and I had a wonderful trip back home to North America, and I didn’t even feel very depressed when I got home’ Anna HM
‘I got to marry the love of my life – something still illegal in many parts of the world.’ Anna K
‘Now that’s a challenge indeed! Thinking…. Oh! Went glamping then camper-van camping. Not news, but good’ Catherine
‘My little sister’s wedding four months after a successful op to remove tumours on her kidney and ovaries. Passing my PGCE and getting a part time teaching job with a charity on my own terms’ Claire
‘2016 has been a tough year. The good news I have is the wedding of my grand daughter, was beautiful’ Elisabeth
‘Predictably, mine is a much longed-for baby. He’s a constant source of delight and antidote to the year’s otherwise awfulness.’ Elizabeth
‘I got to swim with (& learn about) the dolphins in Hawaii for a week over my birthday…. 🐬🐬🐬’ Kate
‘I had a healthy, bonny, beautiful baby in January, after a difficult and (towards the end) quite risky pregnancy. I recovered completely from the liver condition I developed during pregnancy and got better quickly after my C section. I am thankful for her every day – even on days (like today) when she gets me up at 5.20am….Zzzzzzz.’ Laura
‘I took / was given the opportunity to put down everything that I was holding and I have been so discerning about what I have chosen to pick back up. I think I learned more about friendship and listening this year than I ever have before.’ Melissa
‘Saying good bye and good riddance to my gall bladder was very good news for me in 2016’ Miriam
‘I found the job that I had been seeking, that supports me financially, intellectually, and with the perfect work life balance.’ Stephanie
‘Being home after 8 months away last year was the best thing ever – loving the simple pleasures of being home and quiet’ Terri
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