So long, 2016

Saying good-bye to 2016 was something I’d long looked forward too — even while the impending doom of what’s to come in 2017 is not without its own anxiety and worry. I realize that, technically, the date changing from December 31 to January 1 is no more different than the change from September 3 to September 4. But still. There’s something about changing one year for another that just comes with some bit of closure. And when it comes to 2016, I think we all needed a little closure.

I’m looking to 2017 with realistic optimism. I think the worst parts of 2016 were the ones that blindsided me, that exposed my own complacency and the complicity that resulted from it. I’m a big fan of acceptance and embracing the realization that I can’t change others, I only can change myself, is something I’m clinging to mightily these days.

Despite the various shitstorms that 2016 rained upon us, there were many bright spots. There were babies born and children (and adults) who continued to learn and grow. There were friends made and relationships strengthened and risks taken, for better or for worse.

In my writing, I accomplished a great deal. Of the 93 submissions I sent out (yes, 93), eight resulted in acceptances (and 10 are still pending). That might not sound like a lot, but two of those eight were competitions: one where my story placed first, and the other where my story came in runner up. Not to mention that five of the eight acceptances came in December. FIVE. Getting five acceptances in one month was quite a boon to my confidence, albeit short-lived (ah, the self-doubt is strong). I also put together my first ever short story collection, compiling 12 of my flash fiction pieces into a chapbook length collection. That’s been a goal of mine for several years, so making it happen meant a lot.

2016 was a disaster. And the hits kept coming right to the bitter end (New Year’s Eve night at the emergency animal clinic with two kids and a kitten is exactly as much fun as it sounds). But the clock struck midnight, and it ended like all the others, making room for the clarity and perspective that hindsight allows.

And I welcome 2017 — its challenges and all — with open arms and, more importantly, an open mind.

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