2016: A Year End Review

There’s no need to sugarcoat this – 2016 sucked, guys. I spent the beginning of the year preparing for bad stuff I knew was ahead, the middle discovering that there are some things you can’t prepare yourself for, and the end waiting for the last shoe to drop. (It did.)

I could sit here and write you thousands of words about what made 2016 the worst, but why dwell on the crappy past when we can look forward to the potentially less crappy future? More about that near the end, but first, the fun stuff.

My sunshine
Happy birthday, Netha!

Best experience: Becoming an aunt to the sunshine of my life, Netha. Matter of fact, being her aunt will be one of the best experiences I ever have.

Worst experience: Ugh. No. Pick one.

Top 3 movies I saw:
1. Moonlight
2. Hunt for the Wilder People (Crushin’ on Taika Watiti)
3. The Edge of Seventeen

Bottom 3 movies I saw:
1. Lake Eerie
2. Sausage Party
3. Holidays

Most enjoyable movie watching experience: The Angry Birds Movie

Best musical discovery: “Every Note” Mystery Skulls
Best musical rediscovery: “What You Know” Two Door Cinema Club

Best sports moment: Russell Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
Most heartbreaking sports moment: He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named went to some dumb city. Whatever.
woof

Best new TV series: Westworld (HBO)
Binge watching recommendations: Stranger Things (Netflix), The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX), Atlanta (FX), The Grinder (Fox), Black Mirror (Netflix)

Top 3 local discoveries:
1. 4 J’s Diner, Oklahoma City, OK
In the mood for some home cookin’? Well despite what the name would imply, that’s not what you’ll find at 4J’s. It’s actually a Laotian/Thai restaurant. And don’t let the location fool you – the food is some of the best Thai food I’ve ever had. I personally recommend the fresh, cooked-to-perfection egg rolls and the Weeping Tiger with extra sauce.

2. The Hash, Edmond, OK
Be prepared to wait for your brunch on a Saturday or Sunday. Why? Well, I can’t confirm this, but I hear their pancakes are made from funnel cake mix. FUNNEL. CAKE. MIX. PANCAKES.

3. Evoke, Edmond, OK
I work downtown and typically don’t start my post-dinner coffee hunt until 7:30 PM, so my coffee seeking hours have never seemed to line up with Evoke’s operational hours. However, one magical day, it finally happened. And even after all the waiting, I was not disappointed. I haven’t been back since. Please stay open later, Evoke. All About Cha is taking all the coffee money I could be giving you.

Bragging rights for 2015:

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Rachael, Will and Beth – October 22, 2016

I met Will Friedle. While 87% of you have never heard that name in your life, the other 13% know him as Eric Matthews from Boy Meets World. I know how this sounds, but he may have been my favorite celebrity meet ever.

For me, Boy Meets World was the show. Beth and I still quote it to this day. And it was on the air pre-internet, so I’ve never fathomed meeting anyone from the show. Sixteen years after the series finale aired, I had the opportunity to meet Will at a Wizard World Comic-Con in Tulsa. He was incredibly charming, gracious and kind – basically a much smarter Eric Matthews. Then I invited him to a movie… Pet Sematary, to be exact. (True story.)

Top 5 road trips:
1. Las Vegas, NV (I flew, so technically it’s a fly trip.)
2. Magnetic Hill in Springer, OK with Beth
3. Flight of the Conchords in Dallas, TX with Jessi
4. Branson, MO with Mom, Dad and Grandma
5. Enid/Stillwater with Mom and Dad

Other things worth noting:
You know all those life-altering things you try to do as little as possible like moving, changing jobs and buying a new car? I did all those things this year. I don’t recommend doing them so close together, but 2016 DGAF, so here I am.

Since this is my umpteenth redraft of this sucker and I realize I can get long-winded, let’s give them each a recap in 140 characters or less.

Moving:
I moved in with my friend Jessi and her family. I’m sure it’s hard to explain why an adult friend is living in your spare bedroom.

Changing jobs:
I was a content marketing specialist, which was cool. Now I’m a legal secretary, which is… a different kind of cool. I’m less stressed.

Buying a car:
My uncle made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, so I said goodbye to my precious Mustang and hello to my new responsible adult Chevy Malibu.

Weddings:
All my friends had one – I didn’t. The cheese sands alone. Congrats Jessi and Gary, MJ and Brand and Brandon and Misti. Great wedding-ing!
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Look, I Learned a Thing!
2016 may have sucked, but at least I learned some stuff. Here’s some of it:

  • Human beings are really good at adapting and overcoming seemingly impossible situations. They do it every day. Pay attention and be in awe with me.
  • Politics are a black hole. Everyone lies, no one is ever happy. After seeing this joke of an election, I think getting too invested in politics is a sure fire way to spend your entire life irritable and angry. Unless you’re Leslie Knope. And you’re not. Because Leslie Knope is better than us all.
    toot
  • Mental health is legitimate and important. My sister-in-law dealt with a nasty bout of post-partum that required all hands on deck. But she’s amazingly strong and she made it through. On a personal level, after years of living with depression, I finally decided I could wait no longer to see a doctor for help. Getting on anti-depressants changed my life, and possibly literally saved it. I regret not doing it sooner. If you’re having a hard time coping, tell someone. Get help, get better.

    img_3723
    Cotton candy mustaches in Downtown Tulsa
  • Every once in a while you hit a sweet spot in adulthood where you can do something profoundly childish and just not give a crap because you’re an adult and you’ve earned the right not to care. Find those spots and take advantage of them.
  • That said, I also learned that I have a disturbing amount of shared interests with 14-year-old girls. (Markiplier, anyone?)
  • Vegetables taste better if you season them like meat.

2016 Resolutions Ratings:
Take a road trip one weekend a month.
I ended up making more than 12 road trips, but from September on was pretty useless as far as travel is concerned. Through this experiment I’ve found that the more frequently I can get away, the better for my sanity. (Just like this.) And yes, I followed through on taking trips that were very important to me, like Flight of the Conchords in Kansas City, MO and An Evening with Al Pacino in Thackerville, OK, alone. I’m proud of that.
I didn’t blog any of them. I’m not proud of that.
Rating: A-

Write for pleasure.
I published eight blogs in 2016, which is a vast improvement over the two I posted last year, although woefully inadequate for what I wanted to accomplish. Baby steps, I guess. Since the goal was to write for pleasure, I did that… very averagely.
Rating: C

Stress less.
This is tricky. I don’t feel comfortable saying I stressed less, but I did take strides in what I stress about. I was more easily able to recognize the things that are just silly to concern myself with, but there were plenty of legitimate reasons to stress in 2016. I still need improvement, but it was a hard-earned C.
Rating: C

Own less.
When I moved, I gave away/trashed a lot. Like 60%ish of my belongings. I didn’t need it. I’m certain I still have more than I need, but moving from an apartment to a bedroom will certainly help you prioritize. I’ll be purging again when I move back into a place of my own.
Rating: A

Be happy alone.
I’m not a total failure with this. I have come to the conclusion that much of my life is loneliness. Some days I accept that, some days I cry myself to sleep over it. “Be happy alone” is a tall order. You can probably just put this in one of those revolving resolutions buckets with “lose weight” and “spend less, save more.” I’m never going to master this stuff. All I can do is keep trying. Maybe next year I’ll give myself a C.
Rating: D

2017 Resolutions:
Reconnect with old friends.
There are six people I rarely speak to now that immediately pop into my head when thinking about my past. Each was a large part of my life at various stages, but through the years, we’ve just gone different ways. I miss them. I don’t know if we can jump back in where we left off, but I’d like to at least take time to catch up. Even if it’s just a dinner, it’s important to me for them to know that I still care about them and think of them often.

Say “yes” more often.
I unofficially made this a resolution about halfway through 2016, but now I’m making it official. Saying yes has always been hard for me. It usually results in being put in uncomfortable social situations with little to no backup. But whatever. It hasn’t killed me yet and my threshold of embarrassment grows each year, so why not? I’ve got nothing better to do. Hopefully one of those yeses will lead to a new adventure or a life-long friend. If not, at least it can be an entertaining story at a party that I’ll say yes to attending.

Take care of myself
I’ve been avoiding it for years, but I guess it’s time to try to take care of myself. Not a diet, but a healthier way of eating… that still includes pizza because I’m realistic. Being more active, not just in the gym, but finding something I like doing. Maybe hiking. Sleeping more, which should make some of you reading this pretty happy. Boring, responsible crap like that.

Travel more and further
I’m very pleased with the trips I made in 2016, but I want to push myself further for 2017. More out of state trips, maybe an official vacation, perhaps even something that requires a plane ticket. I don’t have a fleshed out plan yet, so if you have suggestions, I’m all ears. I want to see new (affordable) things.

Create
I feel like I have a lot of good ideas; things that could really be something if I could push it and find some help. I want to try it. If I fail, so be it. I don’t want to be someone who talks about big plans with no results. Even if the result is failure, I want to be able to say I tried. “Try” is very important to me right now. I might just make it the theme for 2017.

When you look back over your 2016, I hope you can find some things to smile about. If not, I hope you can say you’ve learned something that can help you as you move forward.
But seriously, f*** you, 2016.

TL;DR: here’s my 2016, two seconds at a time.

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