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baw035Many have said that 2016 was a shitty year. In terms of celebrity deaths and US politics, I can honestly concur.

We lost some bright lights this year. Some bright, formative influences on my childhood and the adult I became. David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, George Michael, Gene Wilder, Leonard Cohen, Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher. (And so many of them so shortly after Robin Williams and Leonard Nimoy.) All of them had some part in my popular culture formation. And then there were others; Elie Weisel, Fidel Castro, Richard Adams, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Alan Thicke, Ron Glass, Florence Henderson, Ursula Franklin etc, etc who nevertheless helped shape the fabric of the world that shaped me – and others of my generation. This is why I think the year felt like such a blow: our childhoods are starting to fray into the electric threads of memory and nostalgia.

And then the perpetual stress of the US election bombarding us from TV and internet feeds, only to have the worst possible result at the end of it all was depressing, if not downright frightening. ‘Murica has elected a TV repairman as a brain surgeon believing that the skills are similar and therefore transferable. (I suppose this is what happens when you think a country should be run like a business, forgetting that it’s primary purpose isn’t to make money. But the idiocies of capitalism are the contents of another rant.) Some ask me why I give a crap what happens south of the border, but don’t forget – what happens to our closest neighbour affects us because we’re inexorably tied by trade, by borders and by history. Talk of walls, terrorism and sheer stupidity in the White House (as evidenced by the loose-cannon tweeting by The Toupeed One) is enough to set anyone’s teeth on edge. I, for one, am going to miss The Obamas.

But.

2016 wasn’t all bad. J and I had a bunch of adventures on the island, exploring parks and trails from here to Jordan River, Lake Cowichan and lots of places in between. We did a lot of things we hadn’t done before, including attending a monster truck rally. We also gardened for the first time in a rental plot in a local community garden. We ate a lot of our own home-grown vegetables which was amazing. I’d missed home grown veggies for a while, so our accomplishment, as total garden-noobs was fantastic.We also got a fish tank, which is something I had never had before. Fish are not as easy to care for as one might imagine, but their little colourful lives are worth it. And yes – they do have personalities.

I also changed jobs after five years at my previous place of employment. A step up in responsibility and income. While I miss some of the coworkers, I do not miss the endless cycles of stupidity – or the fact that I had solutions that no one would take seriously. It was stressful and futile – and while I enjoyed the actual work, there was a limit to my patience and sanity.

So while the year has been characterized as pretty terrible, take time to highlight the positives in your year and cherish them all the more. Happy New Year, friends.

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