Go to the Light… A Second Annual New Year’s Retrospective

As we proceed once again through the portal from one year to the next, I offer you my second annual new year’s retrospective, and my opinion on the popular “2016 sucked – bring on 2017!” declarations.

First, my thoughts on year-bashing: Let’s not be so hasty. To quote Ernest Hemingway, “we are all broken, that’s how the light gets in.” And Leonard Cohen, “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”


Hmmm….I’m sensing a theme, or perhaps plagiarism…tomato, tomahto… the point is to find the light in there somewhere. Take a look back and find the beauty, the wonder, the spangle-light; in other words, the moments of 2016 un-suckage. I promise you they’re there; it might be a feat more irritating than reading Where’s Waldo? or staring cross-eyed at a Magic Eye puzzle, but relax your eyes and look.

Then, I want you to turn and face that magical doorway to the Narnia that is 2017. Because remember, every year will have the evil, stone-turning-wand-carrying witches and the righteous Mr. Tumnuses. (or is the plural Tumni? This will keep me up at night…)

Without further ado, I present my “best of” 2016, in no particular order:

  • Sitting outside on a gorgeous breezy day at the Coquelicot Vineyard Estate in Los Olivos, CA drinking wine and eating snacks from our cooler with the sound of wind chimes above our heads
  • Walking my friend’s dogs down a quiet, darkened NYC street and pretending they belonged to me (also pretending I was totally in control of the situation. I wasn’t.)
  • Riding a ferry boat to Catalina on a summer day and noticing how all the passengers – a boat packed with people of all races, creeds and identities – seemed so content and free and happy.
  • Running a ridiculously strenuous trail race on Block Island that took us through stunning parts of the island we’d never seen before.
  • After months of interminable insomnia, sleeping in on summer mornings and being completely guilt-free about it.
  • Wine tasting along the CT wine trail on a beautiful day in June with good friends, hearing my husband say, “I wish this day would never end.”

  • Attending a flawless and amazing David Bowie tribute concert in Providence, and that moment when the silhouetted couple in front of us broke into a spirited and passionate dance.
  • Watching actors perform a play I wrote and chatting with them after the performance.
  • Weekly movie nights with friends, where I was introduced to some great films.
  • Drinking my morning coffee, reading and journaling on a patio in Beechwood Canyon, watching the fog rise above the city of Los Angeles.
  • Introducing our good friends to the wonder of the Greasy Pole competition in Gloucester, MA.
  • That thirty second encounter with a beautiful, elegant older woman at a crosswalk in New York City where we exchanged compliments on our outfits. (Hers was way cooler)
  • The hearty laugh I had when one of my students told me he’d informed his parents we were watching the The Wolf of Wall Street in English class. He meant The Great Gatsby and his parents were understandably horrified.
  • Sitting around a fire-pit last New Year’s Eve with good people and good conversation.

    lou-reed And all the rest: I conquered some writing hurtles and continued to work on others. I met new and interesting people, attended writers conferences and reading series and book launch parties and art exhibits and plays and concerts. I ran. I went for bike rides. I hiked. I ate great food. I cooked for my friends. My friends cooked for me. I ate pancakes and listened to vinyl on Saturday mornings. I realized I was stronger than my obstacles. I felt necessary. I loved unconditionally.

    So, 2016, time to say goodbye. You gave me some challenges, some goodbyes, some anxiety and some grief, but we had some good times. And hey, 2017, yeah, I’m looking at you. No pressure. I’ll walk in without blinders on, knowing you won’t be perfect, but you’ll still be mine.

    So how about you all? What’s on your “best of” list?