Dec 312016

2016 has been the year of making a year anthropomorphic. Dark humor mixed in with a running joke.

This has kind of annoyed me. Yes I could appreciate the running joke, but I also want to count the blessings. Scapegoating the current year makes sense since we are always looking for patterns to put into a narrative. We are all storytellers of various skill and extract from everything to place into a story to make sense of.

Sure election years suck and this has been the suckiest in my memory. But I knew I was going to oppose whoever got elected. Yes it is sad when iconic entertainers die, especially at a younger age. Just that now we are feeling what are parents felt as their iconic stars died as they got older.

Still I would rather celebrate and enter in again what they left behind in film, books, and movies than complain about 2016. So yes this year triggered a lot of revisits of favorites leading also to new favorites.

Every year really is like Dickens brilliant start to “A Tale of Two Cities”.

As an optimistic/pessimist both dark humor and gratitude appeals to me in often contradictory ways. Still I would like to think about and list things I am grateful for in random order.

  • I actually managed to keep a New Year’s Resolution. I prayed the Rosary every day this year. Sure it was 366 (leap year) distracted Rosaries. But that was still better than roughly 4 a week I managed before. I also managed to pray Evening and Night Prayer every day along with spiritual reading. Before I was consistent on the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer. I used an app called Strides to log this everyday and that helped me to prioritize this everyday instead of my usual severe procrastination.
  • Discovered lots of new music (to me) this year via Apple Music. My favorite album was Megadeth’s “Dystopia”. The addition of guitarist Kiko Loureiro has reenergized Dave Mustaine.
  • My Apple Watch enabled me to be consistent in a daily workout. Probably only 7–8 days I missed during the whole year. Now have a standing desk at work and became much better at taking breaks and short walks.
  • While 2016 was not a great year for movies, there were some very good series with “Stranger Things” topping the list. Surprisingly the series “Lethal Weapon” was very good and actually brought the premise fuller to life. Plus it is one of the few series with an intact and happy family in it. I also enjoyed “Mr. Robot” and am finishing the second season of “A Man in the High Castle”. While movies are mostly retreading – series are showing that we don’t have a dearth of good writers.
  • This year I think I read more books from indie authors than books from big name publishers. Again reminding me how much talent is out there. Elitist gatekeepers have moved to narratives of political correctness and virtue signaling. The new Dragon Awards, awarded novels I actually read and enjoyed and the Hugo’s continued their decline. Sure there is a lot of crap in the indie world – just like the published world. See Sturgeon’s Law.
  • Yes there is a lot of bad news out there. Pope Francis phrase ‘piecemeal World War III’ is deadly accurate. So there is a lot to pray about and sometimes I responded appropriately in intercessory prayer. I want to make this my default response.
  • There is so much that can move us towards wonder if we let it. Sometimes my response to wonder can be overwhelming in the actuality of it. I am thankful for this and have a long way to go for a true Chestertonian response to the wonder of the world.
  • I am very thankful for a more detached view towards the world of politics. Yes still a political junkie, but less moved towards anger. “Put no trust in princes” has almost become an ejaculatory prayer for me this year.
  • Super thankful for social media friends. They keep me out of a bubble and challenge me. Even though I follow mostly faithful Catholics – there are certainly a wide range of prudential reactions out there. This helps me to not dogmatize my opinions and to remember how often I am wrong and will continue to be. Plus I love the wide range of interests that open me up into new worlds.
  • Also thankful for the job I have. As an application developer I enjoy my work which is intellectually satisfying, challenging, and requires constant learning.
  • Last but not least is just being a Catholic. How everything provides evidence for the truth of the faith. How my stoic tendencies are constantly being bombarded by the truth of the faith and “sheer grace”.

Thank you Jesus!

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