Measuring 2016.

Regardless of my attempts to normalize New Year’s Eve and make it just like any other day, I still find myself reflecting on 2016, trying to figure out if it was a good year.

Despite Jonathan Larson’s wise words of how to really measure a year, we tend to measure our years in rather tangible ways. Marriage. Children. Home ownership. Promotions. Brushes with fame. Deaths. And if none of these more tangible markers of growth, loss, and happiness occur, we think to ourselves, “Heck, nothing really happened this year.”

I caught myself thinking that last night as I drove out to pick up a friend for a party. I took my favorite back-country road, just as the sun was setting. The sky was beautiful–pink and orange swirled clouds blended perfectly into a sky-blue backdrop. I listened to the “La La Land” soundtrack as I drove, and the words to “Someone in the Crowd” made me think about last year and the expectations I had for 2016.

I’m pretty much in the same place. Same career, same apartment, same friends, same family. On the surface, it might look like nothing changed in 2016. As the road curved and the sunset shifted from in front of me, I realized I was smiling, that I felt happy. By most metrics, I shouldn’t have felt such a surge of happiness, reflecting on 2016. But I did.

I won’t make you read a full laundry list of how I’m measuring 2016, but I will include the highlights:

I wrote.

I sang.

I made music.

I laughed.

I created.

I laughed more.

I cried.

I learned.

I traveled.

I loved.

And then I laughed even more.

I hope I can say the same for 2017.

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