This year I left a well paying job to take a new one which I thought would be more interesting. It wasn’t. After only a month and a half they laid me off and I was unemployed for the next two months after that.

While unemployed, I spent a night in the ER and two subsequent months on a prednisone fueled rage-depression-rage bender.

A lot of people say 2016 has been the worst. I can’t disagree. When I list everything that happened, I feel justified in believing that it really has been a miserable slog.

My new medication dosage left me in deep, debilitating exhaustion.

The bicycle that I bought with babysitting money when I was in 9th grade was stolen off the street of Oakland in broad daylight.

I got into an accident on my new bike that scarred my chin, badly sprained my wrist and the subsequent inflammation triggered my disease so that I struggled to get out of bed for weeks.

I lost my grandfather.

I spent many nights bored, alone and frustrated.

But 2016 wasn’t really that bad for me. Turns out I can make any year sound atrocious if I only list the bad parts. Blah blah blah confirmation bias blah blah.

Most of November had me curled in a ball wondering how long I’ll last without health insurance and trying to imagine how my future can be anything to look forward to.

I cried in public.

The same exercise works in reverse.

I had a lovely relationship most of the year that won’t end with marriage but it concluded with a good friendship with fond shared memories. It’s one I’m deeply thankful for.

I hosted barbecues and reconnected with old friends. I made new ones. I surrounded myself with people I care about. It took me a while to feel at home in California but this year I think I really did it.

2016 has honestly been the year I’ve felt the most persistent happiness. This New Years I’m trying not to force my memories into a meme.

I sold my first map as a freelance cartographer. It even looks alright.

I hung out with Roman Mars and Helen Zaltzman. Twice.

I finally landed a job in the environmental sector- something I’ve been trying to do since I graduated five years ago.

I read some good books. Saw some good movies. I got really drunk with a friend on a weeknight.

I went to Portland, San Diego, Joshua Tree and Lake Tahoe.

I did 23 scuba dives and I think I’ve gotten a lot better at it thanks to some new friends.

I’ve had some truly unique experiences with cool people, some I’ll never see again and some I still hang out with. There are relationships I look forward to exploring.

I spent time marveling at just how lucky I am.

Far be it from me to tell anyone how to feel, I’ll just say that for me, whether I fight for bitterness and resentment or gratitude, I win it. Happy New Years everyone.

Chin up.

Maps, conservation, insects, film, boats, scuba diving

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