In retrospect 2016 feels like such a mess- oh, what a glorious disaster this year has been. Not without it’s blindingly bright moments in time, mind you, but an utter disaster year nonetheless. As I looked back, sprinkled throughout this year were serious moments where I nearly said ‘okay, fuck this all’. A true WTF year, 2016 was shockingly beautiful in it’s tragic optimism yet absolutely crushing in it’s toll on my emotional and physical well-being and the general state of the world around us.
Just over a week ago my company held it’s monthly ‘InDay’, a Friday that all employees are allowed to take off of regular work in order to focus on a particular theme. This last InDay’s theme was ‘reflection’, and ohmygosh looking back on 2016 was a ton of fun for me this year.
(Feel free to walk back my last few posts for broader context on that. I’m gonna shoot from the hip and not crosslink like I usually do.)
I entered the year reduced to rubble and barely on my feet.
It seemed there was only one direction the year could go- upward.
But even when I was making small, steady climbs back up towards the light, it seemed to get even harder.
2016’s punches just kept coming.
It seemed this year pushed me back one step for every two I took up the ladder.
Facing the social indignities and challenges of a brutally public small-town separation.
Weathering the slow, agonizing recovery from my extensive, nearly-fatal injuries that still feels endless as we enter the final days of the year.
Losing my nephew Jesse, yet still not knowing exactly why. So frustrating and painful.
Watching an empty parade of heroes and icons be taken from us – from Prince, Bowie and Sharon to Rickman, Wilder and Zsa Zsa, legends dropped like flies. Their flames of inspiration snuffed out, the smoke obscuring any remaining light ever so increasingly over the months of this heavy year.
Suffering the utter shit-show of American political theater which came to an ugly boil this year, and shined a bright spotlight upon the vilest corners of our society. How petty, ignorant and distrustful we’ve become as a country.
Feeling helpless against the public’s disgusting normalization of hate and intolerance. Their acceptance of misogyny and entitlement. So many choices made for profit instead of conscience.
Witnessing the destruction of any trust in a free press, or the beauty of science, or facts in general. Suppressing feelings of anger and frustration over our continued, collective idolization of celebrity over substance.
There were so many things to regret over the past 12 months it got a little overwhelming.
But on the other hand…
…it helps to remember there was beauty throughout the year, too.
Watching my son grow what seems a mile taller, and wiser, and even more precious. (I’ll probably say that every year, though. Sorry, not sorry.)
Earning three belts in a new martial arts style… all in a year that I started on crutches.
Becoming a true dual citizen of my left and right brains again this year, in both my professional and creative lives. (That’s actually kinda huge.)
Seeing many different walks of life coming together to see the Dakota Access Pipeline project shut down. Oh, yes.
SpaceX landed a reusable booster stage this year, and proved that sustainable space flight is possible in our generation. With that achievement, Mars is also within our reach.
My pride in the amazing, diverse and unilaterally capable community of men and women of all races, religions and backgrounds we enjoy in this country. One where everyone deserves equal footing. One truly worth fighting for.
And of course, the gift of meeting so many amazing, inspiring new friends this year. A bunch of crazy, wonderful people who reminded me that my community is bigger than I’d realized. (And I thank u more than you’ll ever know.)
So it seems…
Despite all the punches and kicks 2016 has thrown, we’re all still standing – and I’m feeling pretty strong too, for the record – and the trend line can only go up and to the right in 2017 from there.
Because in retrospect I’ve come to the conclusion that the sum total of one’s successes and one’s failures is always a net positive. That’s an easy lesson to understand in theory, but a tough one to live in practice.
That last point may be the most important. On the surface it may seem 2016’s been a horrible year, but the more you dig deeper it’s been a year of downs and ups. And what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
Looking forward from here, I can’t help feel that 2017 is going to turn out just fine. Although I doubt it’ll be without it’s own trying moments, 2017 already feels far brighter than it’s predecessor.
It’s time to let go of 2016.
And with that, I send peace, love, and every one of my best wishes for an amazing 2017 to every one of you beautiful people. Let’s have some fun.