As I alluded to in my last post, this year was a difficult one for me personally that ended up turning out for the better. I know that many of us have felt dispirited and beaten down since the election and feel like 2016 was a flaming dumpster fire of a year, so I’ve decided to look back at the things I’m grateful for in 2016.

Here’s my list, in no particular order:

  • Starting my third year as a librarian at Portland Community College. I have never felt more at home in a job and more challenged in fun and exciting ways. I love the work I get to do, my colleagues in the library, and the disciplinary faculty who are so devoted to their students. I’m right where I want to be.
  • Taking up archery. I’m not a very sporty person, so I was surprised by how much I enjoy shooting arrows at a target. It’s an elegant and challenging sport that I have fallen in love with.
  • Meeting Bruce Springsteen! Twice!!
  • Living in Oregon. Portland is such an amazing city with great food and culture, and Oregon is so full of natural wonders that there is always a new hiking trail, mountain, meadow, or waterfall to discover. It’s not perfect (what place is?), but I feel incredibly privileged to live here.
  • Attending the ACRL Oregon/Washington joint conference, also known as librarian camp. I always come away from that conference feeling so much love for our profession and so much hope in our future. The Pacific NW is full of amazing and collaborative librarians and I feel proud to be a part of this community.
  • Attending my dear high school friend Melodie’s wedding in Florida. There are few people in this world I will ever love the way I do Melodie and I was brought to tears being a part of this happy occasion in her life.
  • Finally finding an exercise routine I could stick with. I’ve been doing it faithfully for a year now and I’ve lost weight, gained muscle, and feel terrific!
  • The fact that my son just keeps getting more and more awesome. I don’t know how I deserved such a brilliant, kind, curious, compassionate, and cuddly kid. I feel especially grateful that I get to spend the entire summer break with him going on adventures.
  • Teaching LIS courses for San Jose State is a lot of work, but is always rewarding. I love teaching and I am constantly amazed by the caliber of students coming out of library school (or at least San Jose State).
  • Splurging for MLB at Bat so we could watch NY Mets games anytime and anywhere we wanted, even on my phone while stuck in traffic on the way home from Seattle.
  • Attending the Nutcracker with my son. We’ve done the abbreviated “Nutcracker Tea” for the past three years, but this December, we got front row center seats to the Oregon Ballet Theater’s stunning rendition of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker with a live orchestra. It’s a wonderful tradition to have with my buddy.
  • Visiting Sunriver and Bend (in Central Oregon) in August. I love bike riding and I spend as much time as I can in Sunriver riding my bike through forests and along the Deschutes River. We rented a house and did a lot of good eating, hiking, swimming, and miniature golfing on this trip too.
  • My husband’s unconditional love. I don’t deserve everything he’s done for me and the faith he has had in me, but I am so grateful for it. He’s the best person I know.
  • Attending more Hillsboro Hops games this past summer. Our local single A minor league team’s games are SO fun and cheap! I just bought a 4-game season ticket package for the three of us in 2017 for less than a single major league game ticket would cost.
  • Going to Universal Studios Hollywood with my husband and son. What a fantastic day that was!!
  • I am terrible at keeping happy secrets, so I was incredibly proud of myself for actually surprising my husband with a romantic anniversary trip to the wine country in Walla Walla, Washington. He didn’t even know where we were going as we drove there!!! It was a perfect mini-vacation with bike riding, wine drinking, and hot tubbing.
  • All of the concerts I attended! This year I tried to get out to more concerts — both rock/pop, jazz, and classical. Highlights included Pink Martini, Bruce Springsteen, Belly, the Oregon Symphony’s program with Holst’s The Planets and Natasha Peremsky, the Danish String Quartet, Chico Freeman, and Tony Starlight vs. Jazz.
  • Seeing so many people mobilizing to do good after Trump was elected. It feels like we are going into a very dark time now, but I am heartened by seeing so many people coming together to form a resistance and help people who are or might be negatively impacted by Trump. Most people of privilege have been complacent for a long time, and I think the election shook many of us out of our comfort zones. If Trump’s election mobilizes people in the long-term to fight for things like racial and gender equality, transgender rights, and the environment, then that’s a good thing. I have to remain hopeful; I have a kid I love very much who is going to inherit this world from us and I want to help make it better (or at least not worse).
  • I feel so fortunate to be a part of our amazing profession. When I see librarians passionately standing up for the values of our profession — especially those around access and privacy — I feel very proud to be a librarian. I remain optimistic that we will remain faithful to these values during what I’m sure will be a challenging next four years.

And I’m grateful to you, my friends who read this blog, and especially those of you who have engaged with me here or via social media. There have been moments in my life where I’ve felt very alone and isolated, and this blog has sometimes served as a lifeline for over the past 12 years. Thank you for reading it and for connecting with me. I wish you all good things in the coming year.

What was the best thing that happened to you in 2016? What are you most grateful for?