My wife and I were out walking the other day, discussing the year, ruminating on what had happened to us: married folks, parents, citizens of the United States, citizens of the world. So much of what happened to the two of us here in our little corner of the planet was satisfying and unique. As my spouse declared in our annual Christmas letter, so many things that had never happened before happened to us. This is not to say that 2016 went exactly the way we would have written it up if we had control over it.
Because we don't.
It is, as the late Bill Hicks used to remind us, just a ride.
And, as the gentlemen of Firesign Theatre add, "I think we're all Bozos on this bus." We are all climbing aboard that bus headed to the future. A bunch of clowns. This is the ride we all took with no real sense about what we would do once we got there. We would make it up as we went along.
I hadn't planned on watching the Chicago Cubs play a seventh and deciding game in the World Series. I hadn't planned on getting a phone call from my son telling me that his friend's truck had rolled with the two of them inside. The fact that I got the phone call was the good news. I hadn't planned on getting a kidney stone one more time, but it gave me the impetus to figure out that all that Coca-Cola was bringing the pain.
I did plan on taking my family to Yosemite. I did plan on returning to that same elementary school for yet another round of elementary school teaching. I did plan on visiting our son in his new home away from home. I did plan on building a fence with my son when he came back to visit for the summer.
I didn't plan on missing the chance to elect our country's first woman president. I didn't plan on turning over the reins of the country to a man who issues his mandates through his Twitter account. I didn't plan on each new day bringing a new, confounding pronouncement from the Tower. I didn't plan on the disappointment.
That may have been short-sighted on my part. Each year packs in plenty of disappointment. Plenty of joy comes along with it. Picking out the bright spots amid the dreck is part of the reckoning.
To wit: 2016.