Two complimentary forces. Good and bad. Shadow and light. Yin and yang.
These are the things I think of when I think of everything that happened in 2016. (Of course, it feels like the dark side is perpetually winning and it’s driving me a bit bonkers at the moment, but…I digress.)
As I’ve struggled to put together a piece for work about well, my job’s own 2016 in review, my personal struggles and memories keep bubbling up and telling me that I need to let them out. And here we are. With the good and our bad, our shadows and our light, complimenting each other and fighting it out for the forefront on my mind.
As I’ve worked on the work project, I found my calendar from the first six months of the year. A full-sized planner. I archived it, of course, because I knew I’d need all my notes for my annual review. And the more I thumb through it, the more I see that it’s full of different things. The good and the bad. Both work and personal.
When I think about the year as a whole, I remember so many different bad things. I always remember bad things versus good things. A huge fight and falling out with my dad (that finally resolved this week). The loss of Kristi’s dad atop a list of so many of our heroes we also lost, including Carrie Fisher. The election and its results that changed so many things and caused me to question my career far more than I ever had before. I was unmedicated for a long time–the longest time since I had started them, and times had gotten scary. (I’ll write about this eventually, but not now.)
But there were also good things. I have to remember the good things. I have to hold onto the good things.
As I thumb through that planner, I can quickly and easily see just a few of them.
February saw both my second Springsteen concert and my first trip to Florida. My mom got us *great* seats to see Bruce from a friend of hers. And, basically a week later, when Kristi went and ran her second half marathon at Disney World, she invited me to come along. I even got to go and meet Tinkerbell! And we took tequila shots with her dad, which is one of my favorite memories of him.
March saw Kristi and I get engaged. I’d bought the ring less than two hours before I asked her to marry me, with the help of a toddler-sized bright yellow raincoat. Thankfully, she said yes. (A week and a half later, we got our first bit of bad news. Two weeks after that, more bad news came. And more after that.)
April, Kristi and I celebrated her 25th birthday in Florida. Two trips in one year. I was baptized into the Methodist church which has seen me through so many dark, dreary days. I also went to a Jeopardy taping and held my very first training that I wrote and gave. It was terrifying, but I was so glad when it was done.
June saw us going to Awesome Con together, me working late nights, and running my first live race of the year, a 5K I ran with some coworkers and their friends.
July, Kristi and I saw Toby Keith and Disturbed in one weekend and ventured an extra twenty miles after one of the concerts just to get Waffle House. (They didn’t have chocolate chips that day. It was sad.) I went into the Pentagon for the second time ever and got to stand at the podium of the press briefing room, which was probably one of the coolest moments of my young career. We adopted our precious boy cat, Stripes.
August, I got a new apartment for my birthday where Kristi and I moved in together. My work colleagues from all over the country came into town and we celebrated my birthday at a big happy hour. My mom and brother came to stay with us in the new apartment, not long after we moved in–their first time coming down to visit since my mom first helped me move to DC in July 2014.
September, during a week of late nights and early mornings, I managed to squeak in a visit to Nationals Park to see my second Springsteen concert of the year. It rained but the show was fantastic. My first big stadium show. Labor Day weekend just two days later, Kristi met my dad, we saw Blink-182, and I took her to my hometown in New York. I ran my first five-miler and didn’t die.
October, Kristi and I got our engagement photos done, and my dad’s illness finally was nearly resolved. I made my last trip there for the year. (I try to go 3-4 times a year.)
November and December were hard. Harder than they should’ve been.
Obviously in November, the election happened. Kristi and I applied for and got our marriage license.
The election changed our plans, making us wonder and worry for the future of our legal marriage. But, we decided and we moved up our legal ceremony and we won’t let that dissuade us from having a big wedding in October 2017–as we originally wanted and planned.
I found myself running to each church service I could that week. Three different times I found myself in the pews, praying to God for hope, clarity, and grace.
Later, I ran my second five-miler and still didn’t die. I wrote another 50,000 word manuscript as I tried to drown out all the uncertainty in my mind. (It was far easier this year.)
December, Kristi and I hosted brunch for her friends in our apartment. Her mom came to visit for Christmas. We married on December 27th and went to dinner afterward. Our New Year’s celebrations were small, we watched Netflix and cuddled with the cats, knowing that 2017 had lots in store for us.
There were so many horrid things about 2016 but going through and seeing all of the good things that happened makes it all worth it. 2017 will be better; it’ll still have its challenges, but I have faith it will be better too. There is shadow and light in everything, after all.