Look closely, and you will find some good in 2016.
Buried under the rubble of death, destruction, and devastation are memories of happiness, adventure, and beauty.
It was a year of bucket-list check-offs: I spent a dazzling day meeting, feeding, and interacting with the most majestic creatures on Earth1. I added three new lands to my “European Countries I’ve Visited (Because Travel Is Easier From Within the UK Than the US)” map—Italy2, Sweden3, Belgium4.
It was a year of musical bliss: Tears welled in my eyes as Brian Wilson5 sung “God Only Knows” to the swaying audience at Usher Hall, and again when Elton John crooned “Levon” and “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues” in front of the rowdy Meadowbank crowd6.
It was a year of firsts: Athleticism has never been my strong suit7. So why (I ask myself every Saturday morning when I wake up at 8:30 a.m.) do I insist on participating in the weekly Portobello 5K Parkrun? I decided in October that it was time to pull on my long sleeve running top and try to prove to myself that I can plod along for five kilometers without feeling sick and nearly passing out8. After all, what’s three laps around the park when I grinningly dropped 165 feet from the Forth Rail Bridge9?
It was a year of kith and kin: As per tradition, Neil and I returned to the US this summer to attend a friend’s wedding and visit some faction of my family. I had the great honour and joy of, once again10, standing next to one of my oldest mates as she said “I do” to a wonderful man. Then I had the even greater joy11 of spending a week at my brother and sister-in-law’s Missouri home, where we played games, read books, and exhausted ourselves with my mischievous, beautiful, bizarre12 nephew and niece. Back in the UK, I attended my first Scottish wedding13, where I graciously watched new friends exchange lovely rings and even more loving gazes. Then capped off the season playing tourist with my parents and aunt—first in Edinburgh, then in Bruges.
It was also a year of heartache and pain14: We lost so much and gained so little.
Once the dust settles in 2017, I will be walking down a new career path. For those who haven’t heard, my publishing company (Ziff Davis) made some cutbacks this month; among them: my full-time contract position with PCMag15. Come January, I’ll be watching TV for research purposes16 and diving into the fun, weird, WTF side of tech news as a part-time freelancer17 for sister site Geek.com18. But, keep an eye out for my occasional byline on PCM—my home for the last four and a half years.
So pour one out for 2016 and raise a toast to 2017—to new beginnings, new opportunities, and new delights.
Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays and a spectacular new year. Cheers!
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne.
We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
1. Giraffes, for those of you who haven’t visited our flat in the last eight months, paused just outside the kitchen, and asked, “What is the Giraffe Experience?”↩
2. I left my heart in Pisa, Lucca, Florence, and Siena↩
3. History, culture, meatballs, and friends↩
4. Where I spent too many euros on a dress with giraffes on it↩
5. It’s nice to know his eccentricities haven’t dissipated over the years↩
6. It is a sad day when thousands of people can muster the words to only “Your Song”↩
7. I once stood stubbornly on second base during a children’s T-ball game, because I didn’t realise it was my turn to move↩
8. After five attempts, this remains a mere hypothesis↩
9. I raised nearly £1,000 and abseiled in the name of mental health↩
10. That’s five bridesmaid dresses now↩
11. Sorry, Catherine↩
12. My two-year-old niece sees ghosts↩
13. Of a Canadian bride and English groom↩
14. I don’t know if I can face it again↩
15. i.e. I’m being laid off at the end of January↩
16. Covering Doctor Who (Allons-y!)↩
17. i.e. A major paycut and less job security↩
18. Told you there was some good in 2016↩