2016 Wrap up

It’s time once again to do my yearly wrap-up. Even before I was doing the daily blog adventure, I was putting together yearly summaries, and so the tradition continues.

For many of us, 2016 felt like a horrible year. In fact at trivia night on Wednesday, we decided to name our team F#%* 2016!. There have been countless articles over the past few days trying to reassure us that 2016 wasn’t all that bad, and in fact a lot of good happened. However, I think the real reason many of us feel distressed about 2016 is not because we can’t see the good things that happened around us, but because all the bad things that happened took punches at our sense of hope for the future.

The election of 2016 was a brutal and sad chapter in our country’s history. I try to avoid politics as much as I can on the blog, but I make no secret that I am not a member of the conservative camp. However, I pride myself on being able to have intelligent discussions with people who disagree with me. The key point being that intelligent discussions cannot take place when Twitter and inflammatory Facebook meme’s are the jumping off point for communication. Civil discourse took a plunge off a cliff this year, and it was replaced with reactionary and emotional yelling. Seeing our society devolve like this, saps our hope for the future.

The year 2016 was also marked by the deaths of many cultural icons that were loved by many. It’s difficult to watch people in the public space pass away, but I acknowledge that in many ways this is simply the way things go as we age. Many of the people that we lost this year spent much of their lives battling drug addictions and their bodies were the worse for it. Therefore, it only makes sense that many of them, of similar age, would start to suffer the consequences.

Yet, that acknowledgement does not dampen the sense of loss, and the realization that these very creative people will no longer be adding to the world with their immeasurable talent. When someone of great talent passes, the world feels dimmer with the snuffing of another a flame of creation. This contributes to our general sense of loss of hope, as the future feels darker without the presence of many of these individuals.

This is also why regular folks like you and I need to do what we can to continue to create things in this world. That was a big part of the reason I started this daily blog to begin with. After reading a post from Wil Wheaton at the end of 2014, I decided I needed to do something to keep myself creating, as a world without creators is a pretty dull place. Hence, the daily blogging started in 2015, with nothing more than an idea to make something new every day, where something wasn’t the day before. It’s my hope that by continuing to contribute to the general ethos of creation in the world, maybe 2017 doesn’t have to feel as hopeless as it does right now.

My plans for the blog in 2017 will be my post for tomorrow, and this is still 2016, so let’s talk a bit about what’s happened this year. I’ve already talked about my year in photography, in cycling, and in running. So what else has gone on this year in my life?

My wife and I were able to do a bit of traveling this year, with many small trips around the state. We also had a large trip to Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula to celebrate our belated honeymoon. Traveling by train was one of the most amazing and enjoyable methods I’ve ever traveled, and I can’t wait to do it again. I almost wish there was an easy train to Vegas where we go every year to visit family.

Much of our traveling around the state involved hiking, running or biking. We picked up some nice daypacks and spent some time with them on the Superior Hiking Trail this summer. We also did some camping, and it renewed our love of sitting out in the woods next to a nice fire, relaxing or reading under the stars. So much so that we picked up a fire pit at home and this fall saw us going through a ton of wood on a weekly basis.

We also spent a lot of time relaxing with tabletop games this year, and made frequent visits to Fantasy Flight Game Center. We discovered some great new games, like Lanterns, and got a taste of an awesome game called Mechs and Minions. This fall we also started up a D&D group, and I’m really looking forward to DM’ing our campaign in 2017.

The wife and I also spent plenty of weekend nights up in Blaine watching the Minnesota United FC play their final season before advancing to Major League Soccer. We had a mediocre season, but we’re very excited about getting to step up to the top tier. We even got some of our family to join in the season ticket craze and we all went and picked out our seats at TCF Bank Stadium for next year.

From a TV show perspective, the wife and I have started catching up with all the DC Comic TV shows on CW. I started watching Arrow while she was on an internship, and when she got back I caught her up and we’ve been watching Arrow, Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow together for fun. Soon we’ll add Supergirl into the mix. We just need to get caught up before the season starts in Fall 2017, and then we can watch new episodes as they come out, and don’t need to avoid spoilers.

I also got my largest tattoo yet this year, and I’m already thinking about what to get next. I’ve got a folder on Google Drive that I use to store ideas for future imagery. I know that I eventually want to get more artwork going down my arm, but I want it to be significant imagery that reminds me of my family. I obviously take my time in thinking about things like this, as they don’t just wash off. Perhaps 2017 will be the year I start getting more of that done.

We watched a bunch of movies this year that became good fodder for blog entries, as I got to talk about what I didn’t like or loved about them. The best ones were the ones that surprised us with how much fun they were, despite going in not knowing what to expect. Doctor Strange is a great example of that.

I also started making bread this fall, and it’s something I’ve come to really enjoy. My cinnamon bread has been a big hit at family and friend gatherings, and even just my simple white bread has been nice to have around. I’m thinking of trying a sourdough next year and see if I can get that to come out right, as I love a nice pull-off loaf of sourdough.

Needless to say, much has happened over 2016. In many ways it was a good year, and in many ways it had it’s struggles. I still muse about what the future will bring for me, and what I really want to do with the second half of my life. Everything still feels like we’re in a bit of a transition phase, and will be for a bit longer. All I know is that I feel like the time is getting closer for me to be able to make some transitions in my life. I know my wife has had a year of transition this year, and is finally into something stable, so perhaps it will be my turn in the not too distant future.

Writing this blog every day for 2016 was a tremendous experience, and tomorrow I start again for another year. I have lots of ideas and thoughts for next year, and I hope to be able to get them done. I even have a few things that might surprise people, and might even surprise me. All that is for tomorrow though. For now, it’s time to say goodbye to 2016 and wish everyone reading this a happy and blessed New Year!

 

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