In many ways, 2016 was a dumpster fire started by a flaming arrow from hell. The weird thing about this year is I’ve been saying “fuck 2016” since March. Now, everyone I know has caught up to me. I’m ashamed to admit it, but misery loves company.
So, how can I possibly look back on this year and thank it? Because lessons. That’s why.
I started 2016 as a science experiment. At some point, I’m sure I’ll say more about that but, for now, that’s all I’m ready to share. In March, exactly three weeks after Science Fair day, my dad died. Because I was going through a tough time, my dad didn’t want me to know he had cancer. Although his cancer progressed very quickly, he didn’t want the stress of knowing he was sick to hurt me. He thought he would come through surgery, have a round of chemo and tell me about it later. He didn’t. I found out he had cancer on February 29th (I’m glad Leap Day only comes once every four years) and he died on March 4th.
I wish I could say that I spent the rest of the year with a cup of tea, a blanket, and a deep dive into my grief, but I didn’t have the chance to do that. Shortly after my dad’s death, I was too busy processing a health scare with my mom (she’s just fine, thankfully), more science experiments and my life being uprooted by the person I thought I could trust the most in the world (and let’s not forget the trip to Disney that is divorce). Then, towards the end of the year, my wonderful boss retired and my colleague, whom I see as more of a sister than a co-worker, moved back home to Texas.
Still, somehow, through all that muck in the drain, I was able to pull out the sapphire (remind me to tell you the story of the time I dropped a sapphire earring down the sink drain on the day of my Bat Mitzvah- because I’m a klutz, that’s why).
It took me some time to learn my lessons this year, and I’m still learning them as I count down to 2017. In fact, my mom is almost entirely responsible for helping to build me back up after losing my dad and marriage. I don’t want to write about my marriage through this blog, because that’s not something for public consumption and, frankly, that’s not the purpose of this blog. I will say this—for a while, I lost sight of who I was and the awesome stuff I was capable of. As the end of the year approaches in just a few days I can say, with complete honesty, that I am closer to restoration of my factory settings.
A couple things happened shortly after my husband left that helped to rebuild my character and replenish my humor.
Over Labor Day weekend, I was at my place trying to get things back in order and I, no joke, dropped my keys right down the elevator shaft in my building. I know! Just like a fucking character in a romantic comedy (and I hate romantic comedies), I just listened to them clank, clank, clank as they fell to the basement floor. They were the only set I had with a key to my mailbox and a key fob to the elevator. One guess as to who had the other set. I couldn’t believe it was happening, and then I thought “oh yeah! It’s 2016. Of course this is happening!” I think the Otis man was really uncomfortable when I hugged him a few days later after he retrieved my keys.
A few weeks later, I wanted to sell my car. I got a quote from Carmax and drove it home. Then, when I was cleaning it out, I accidentally left the passenger door open. The already mostly-dead battery fully died. I couldn’t jump it either. I just blinked, blinked, cried and then laughed and said “oh, 2016, you evil dungeon master!” Sometimes, you just have to blink a few times and then laugh. It all ended up working itself out.
Did you hear that? I’ll repeat it. It all ended up working itself out.
That’s been the theme of 2016. Horror. Blink. Keep moving forward.
The truth is, towards the end of the year things have really begun to take shape for me because I’ve learned to let the light in a little bit. I’ve reconnected with some incredible friends and made some really interesting new ones. I went to a trampoline park and jumped my heart out. I stayed up past midnight a few times. I know, right?! I threw away a bunch of stuff and, most importantly, I started writing again. It’s still really tough sometimes. I’m not going to pretend it’s not. But it’s been pretty awesome to savor the good stuff.
I know 2016 was tough for you, too, because 2016 was tough for literally everyone. Maybe you lost someone who meant something to you. Maybe it was David Bowie, or your favorite uncle, or your dog. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe you’re a freak of nature and this year was awesome for you. Good for you.
If 2016 was tough for you, walk yourself over to the mirror, blink twice, tell yourself it’s going to be all right and keep moving forward.
See you all in 2017.