One of the recurring themes of 2016 was how bad the year sucked. Politically, culturally, the year was terrible, marked by the deaths of beloved celebrities, the ascendance of naked racism, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny, and the rise to power of a stupid, venal creature who appeals to the worst elements of our society. Yeah, 2016 has been terrible on a 'macro' level.
Personally, I can't say the year was bad for me. On the workfront, I received a decent raise at the beginning of the year, and the organization hired a guy who I really get along with well for my department. The organization itself had a really successful year, and our fundraisers hit unprecedented attendance levels. On one discordant note, they outsourced a lot of the nuts-and-bolts work to hired hands from a temp agency... the part-timers who make up the bulk of our staff are a bit worried that they might not be able to depend on extended fall hours before going on furlough for the winter. I'm not worried about myself, I have the sort of job which can't be easily outsourced- I have the keys to everything, alarm codes, and safe combinations... not the sort of things revealed to a 'hired gun'.
Generally speaking, my life is pretty stable- I've worked for the same organization for ten years, and volunteered for the same organization for twenty-five. While I value novelty in small things, in large matters I prefer things to go on in placid fashion. This year, though, there were two big changes- I bought a newish car and I moved out of the place I'd been living for ten years. Although the new car is small, it's really roomy inside, with no wasted space, and I was able to fit even my largest pieces of furniture, two bookcases (naturally), into the back of the car, secured with a bungee cord and some rope. The car is a lot of fun to drive, being a five-speed stick-shift, and the new apartment is very similar to the old one, albeit on a quieter street that's even closer to the local bars, so I am pleased with these changes.
As far as writing goes, I have to say that the high point of the blogging year has been Dr Frans De Waal's linkage on his Facebook page to my recap of his lecture... as I joked back in April, this is like a sportball fan getting a link from Peyton Manning or LeBron James.
Soooooo... 2016 was a mixed bag- my personal situation has been more than okay, but I am concerned that friends of mine will be adversely affected by the upcoming political and social developments. I'm a straight white man, college-educated and employed full-time... the lowest difficulty setting in the game of life (I'm not rich, but I consider a lot of the paths to wealth as cheat codes), but (besides having a desire for social justice and fair play)I recognize that minorities function as the canaries in the coal mine, and that if bad policies are inflicted on minorities without public outcry, then there's a good chance that they will eventually be inflicted on non-wealthy white persons.
I wish I could say that I was optimistic about 2017, but I really don't see much cause for optimism. As bad as 2016 seemed to be, and as much as I'm not sad to see it recede into history, I don't think it will be any worse than the coming year. I am looking forward, though, to another year of your readership and support.