The year 2016 is nearly over and has been legendarily awful. But the things that were awful were big things. Things over which I had little control. When examining the things over which I had more substantial control in 2016, the year takes on a significantly rosier hue.
Things That Remained Awesome in 2016
My wife, son, and I remain in good health, and my wife and son continue to be amazing people.
My friends are not only amazing human beings, but are uniquely funny and talented. Sometimes I take for granted what an amazing creative group I’ve surrounded myself with. I forget what rarified air I’m privileged to walk in.
I continue to have an excellent job with an excellent company that is intellectually challenging and pays enough for me to comfortably raise a family.
Things That Became Newly Awesome in 2016
I went to England for the first time and spent two weeks with my wife’s wonderful family. I’m fortunate to have an exceptionally good relationship with my in-laws. And England is pretty awesome all by itself.
My talented wife was cast by the Harlem Repertory Theater, so she was in a bunch of incredible shows and got paid for it. It’s about time that the world recognized how gosh darn talented Paula is.
Paula and I finally got a hold on our finances this year. We weren’t doing badly, but we were living slightly beyond our means. In 2016 we made significant progress in our finances, and we’re on track to be debt-free in 2017.
I ended my PIT house team exile, and was recast on a team. I strongly believe that I was recast, not because I became significantly better at improv, but because I turned around a self-defeating attitude, so being recast represented a significant personal victory. But, I wasn’t just cast on any ordinary team. I was cast on “Regina,” one of the greatest groups I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a member of. I’ve been cast with plenty of funny people before, but never before have I been with a group of funny people who work so well together and share a common artistic vision.
Speaking of talented people I get to work with, Adrian Sexton and I finally put up our “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” improv show we’d been talking about for years, and it was a rousing success. Rory Scholl and I got to do a killer set at a two-prov tournament in front of Armando Diaz, my very first longform improv teacher. The three of us are going to create some killer comedy in the new year.
I coached a group for much of the year, and it’s been a delight watching them become stronger and more confident in their performances. As is often the case, the teacher is also the student, and coaching this group has finally given me enough confidence to pursue my dream of teaching improv.
I got to perform my first two out-of-town gigs and my first out-of-town festival with the Austen Family Improv Players.
At work I was promoted to Architect. (software architect, not building architect) There were some difficult projects in 2016, but they are now behind me and the future looks exciting and challenging. I didn’t get to do as much conference speaking as I’d like, but the one talk that I did give went extremely well.
Things (beside the obvious) that Sucked in 2016
My dad has cancer. He’s not out of the woods yet, but thank God his treatment is going well.
I had several bouts of deep depression. I had terrible anxiety attacks, one of which prevented me from enjoying the company of some friends I hadn’t seen in years. I didn’t see a therapist even once, even though I clearly should.
I spent way too much time on unproductive pursuits, consuming an abundance of media that was ultimately unhealthy.
What About 2017?
So it’s looking like the big things — the things over which I have little to no control — will be pretty terrible in 2017. But on a personal level, things look like they’re going to be pretty okay. I’ve recommitted myself to accomplishing concrete goals. (But hey, doesn’t everyone do that this time of year?)
I just pray that the truly big, historical forces aren’t so terrible that they collide with my personal sphere.