This post has had some harsher titles in drafts. Let's just say F bombs were involved.
I usually love writing these recaps each year, but this one was hard. 2016 started out mildly shitty and ended really shitty. And it was shitty for a lot of what happened in the middle too.
I'm not just hopping on the "F*ck you, 2016" (fine, there's the original title) bandwagon either: this year has genuinely sucked. This blog is generally a fun, positive place, but I've tried to keep it pretty transparent over the years. Which, honestly, is always where the real connection happens anyway. And I share the tough stuff because even I need a reminder that living on a beach in San Diego doesn't necessarily protect you from going through the shit sometimes.
Still, I don't want the overall shittiness to completely overshadow some of the amazing things that happened this year. There were definitely causes for celebration, even if some them weren't actually celebrated! So as is tradition, here was my year:
- I headed down to Sayulita for a weekend to visit my lovely friend Jess, surf, release a baby sea turtle, and relax at the dreamy Casa Love hotel.
- I started my first ever pottery class at Falling Sky Pottery in OB.
- My Uncle Ray, provider of warm smiles, good barbecue food and a swimming pool that I will forever associate with the 4th of July, passed away way too soon, marking the first family member I've lost since my grandfather 14 years ago.
- A week later, my uncle and godfather, George, passed away, sending me to the wintery east coast for a weekend to attend his funeral. My godfather let me drive a car for the first time (his brand new Mustang.. I was like 12 or 13... crazy!), was almost solely responsible for my use of sarcasm as a defense mechanism, and gave my brother and I our first computer, an Apple IIGS. I wished I had visited him more and stayed closer, a regret which inspired a lot of reflection this year.
- Despite the sad occasion, after the funeral I had the chance to spend a great day with my mom and brother, going to one of Connecticut's new breweries, Two Roads Brewing Co., and then adventuring to Mohegan Sun Casino, which I had never been to before.
- I was offered and started my dream job at a marketing agency in downtown San Diego as the head of HR. My new view isn't too shabby either.
- The blog turned 3!
- Ryan and I headed to the desert for a weekend camping trip with our nearest and dearest.
- I found out that I would be running the New York City Marathon in November.
- I cooked my second annual St. Patrick's Day dinner of Shepherd's Pie casserole and Irish Soda Bread for a few friends and neighbors and enjoyed it outside on the patio.
- We took off for the weekend again with a different group of friends down to a rented house in Ensenada for Easter Weekend.
- I learned that the reason my Uncle George passed away had something to do with the fact that he had Lynch Syndrome, a genetic mutation that predisposes you to a bajillion different cancers. After my mom and cousin test positive for Lynch, I track down a doctor in San Diego who specializes in Lynch and make an appointment to get tested in June.
- Speaking of mortality, I turned 30 at my sixth Coachella weekend and was surprised by my Shanna with my first ever flower crown (!) for my birthday.
- My friends and I got in our first and only picnic of the year on a sunny Saturday in Balboa Park with our gang of 5 dogs.
- I kicked off a six week stint of the Fast Metabolism Diet.
- After discovering an amazing Joybird Scratch and Dent sale on Facebook, I upgraded our living room furniture with two awesome new couches.
- I managed to sneak in a daytrip to MOCA on Memorial Day weekend.
- After two months of nerves, I finally get to meet with my new doctor and take the genetic test for Lynch. I won't get the results until July, which means another month of waiting and worrying.
- I proudly cast my vote for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primaries and was heartbroken when he lost.
- Marathon training begins!
- So does school... I begin the last six months of classes for my MBA degree.
- We kick off the summer with a great 4th of July party at our house.
- I attended my fourth Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack with Ryan and his parents.
- In between work, school and training for the marathon, I managed to run the Pride 5K with Megan, have my first ComicCon celebrity sighting (the cast of The Walking Dead), attend a Wine and Paint night with Des and Makena and take not one but two day trips to Tijuana with the gang.
- I finally get the news: I tested positive for Lynch. July turns into a month of scheduling a and coordinating appointments with a variety of oncology specialists so that I can start the preventative screenings that I will have to do semi-annually and annually for the rest of my life. It's a lot to deal with and a lot of weird emotions while I'm in and out of cancer wards even though I don't have cancer. Things feel scary and no bueno.
- On the flip side, after years of promising to do so, my dad finally moved out to California!
- Craving an LA weekend, I planned a 3 day getaway in Los Angeles and head there with Bonnie, Jason, and my friend Lindsey. We spot Quentin Tarantino at Tiki Ti and get to hear Elayne and Marty perform at the Dresden. We explored the Broad, had lunch in Little Tokyo and saw a show at the Hollywood Bowl. And we went night swimming and got kicked out of the pool at 1am. The LA-est of LA weekends.
- After two weeks of trying to find my dad a reliable car, I impulsively decided to just sell him my Versa and lease a new Toyota Rav4... finally I have a car I am in love with.
- Ryan and I headed up the West Coast for an end of summer road trip.
- A not-great test result from one of my Lynch screenings prompts scheduling my first CT scan and first ever IV to boot.
- I spend a day tasting hard cider and hiking with Ryan, Megan and Ernesto in Julian.
- Ryan and I spent an afternoon in Encinitas showering the gorgeous mama-to-be, Amelia.
- I bought tickets for and finally get to see a show at the North Park Observatory for one of my favorite bands, The Naked and Famous.
- I start my second pottery class of the year at Falling Sky Pottery.
- On the first of the month, I complete my only 20 mile run of marathon training and Ryan and I spend our 5 year anniversary getting dinner at Urban Solace in North Park.
- One medical scare is cleared by the CT results which is great, but then I find out I need dental surgery to have to have a molar extracted because it's literally falling out of my head.
- Ryan and I host Halloween at our house and dress up as each other.
- I mail in my ballot and get to vote for our country's first major party-nominated female candidate for president.
- I ran the New York City Marathon, saw family and some Hunter classmates, and took Ryan to Boston for his first time where we spent a day with my brother and his girlfriend, Claire.
- Donald Trump is elected President of the United States and I feel more or less devastated.
- 2016 doesn't go by without me seeing my favorite musician, as I headed up to Orange County to see Andrew McMahon's annual 11/11 benefit concert.
- I get to spend my dad's birthday with him for the first time in years and took him to meet his favorite author, Michael Connelly, later that same week at Warwick's in La Jolla.
- Ryan and I begin to spend some time apart while we assess the next stages of our relationship.
- I cook Thanksgiving dinner for my dad, my stepfamily and Makena, and get to enjoy it outside on the patio during sunset, marking my first Thanksgiving with my dad in almost 20 years!
- After 5 brutal years, I finish up my MBA (unceremoniously) with a 40 page thesis and 20 slide presentation.
- I get the news that my Uncle Mike, who was my birthday twin and one of the jolliest honorary Brits anyone could ever meet, had passed away suddenly of a stroke, making this the third death in my family this year.
- I spent Christmas Eve at my dad's house and Christmas Day at home with Brewer in OB.
- On New Year's Eve day, I enjoyed a drizzly day at the zoo with Des and Ian and stopped by Makena's at night for a tarot reading. I was home and asleep by 9pm. No need to see out the final hours of this year!
While there were certainly highs (my dad moving to San Diego, great times with friends, starting a new job, some nice getaways, running the marathon, and finishing grad school), the lows were just more pervasive: the deaths in my family, the shitshow that was this presidential election, my own health scares and newfound medical issues, the pressure of a new job and of the final push in school, and, most importantly, the status of my relationship were pretty all-consuming.
And honestly? I don't know how I would have gotten through it without the love and support of three of the greatest women in my life, Bonnie, Shanna and Makena, and my dad. For that, I consider myself a lucky girl. If 2016 taught me anything, it's that I have some pretty amazing people in my support system.
Regardless? Fuck you, 2016. Here's to a better and brighter 2017!