The Good, the Bad, and the End

It has finally come, the death of 2016, a celebrity serial killer, a hot mess (literally), and a particularly fraught year full of division.  I will start out with the BAD.  The loss of many celebrities and icons and, well, people shall be remembered and honored.

(please play the following)

Famed heroe Muhammad Ali, the brilliant singers Prince and David Bowie, and especially to some of my favorite actors Gene Wilder(will always be my Willy Wonka), Carrie Fisher (who I remember in more than just Star Wars), and Alan Rickman (Snape, for sure, but BY GRABTHAR’S HAMMER, YOU WILL BE AVENGED!).  There are countless others whom you will most certainly tell me I forgot, but luckily YOU haven’t.  And that’s the point.

It seemed like we lost a lot this year, but we lose a lot of people every year which makes living in the here and now that much more important.  I am thankful for the people around me who keep me going and no “WORST YEAR EVER” will change that.  The ones that have left us are not completely forgotten

I’m going to think of the good things and so should you.  Let me bring your spirits up with the reminder of this post.  Here is the GOOD:

First off, there was a whole host of scientific discoveries (many thanks to SciShow for putting them together):


And to top it off, something I do every year for the past few years:

Whenever something good happens to me or if I’ve accomplished something that’s noteworthy, I write it down on a small slip of paper and put it into a jar.  At the end of each year, I take the jar, empty it and recount the good (to great) things that have happened that might have been overshadowed.  Regardless of what bad things might have occurred, I always find the good each year.  I recommend you try to do the same, and see what your year turns out to be.

So for 2016, here are the good things that have happened to me  (in no particular order):

  • I gave my first lecture as an adjunct and was a professor for a whole semester.
    • I was even told that one of my lectures was the best class ever for someone.
  • I went to MAGfest for the first time and got to bring someone to their first ever convention.
  • Had about 12 interviews for jobs (over the phone, skype, and in person)
  • I applied to Google by being a little bit silly
    • I didn’t get the job, but at least I tried.
  • Was offered several jobs, but stuck with it to find one I ultimately wanted.
    • Actually, we’ll see about that soon…
  • I finished a friend’s custom RPG campaign and I was the GM for the first time EVER for a homemade Pathfinder campaign.
  • I built a secret project for my mom which is best described as “hidden door bookshelf”
  • I visited Boston for the first time and spent a week in London as my first vacation in 5 years.
    • I recommend vacations slightly more frequent than that.
  • I walked in my Ph.D. graduation ceremony and saw many other of my friends do the same.
    • Some got their Master’s and I couldn’t be more proud of them.
  • I ran a 5k with my dad and beat my PR for 35 min.

And finally,

  • I made the tough, but ultimately necessary decision to leave Blacksburg.

This was exceptionally tough for me to do, I actually passed over a postdoc position at a big lab just to stay for 1 more semester to teach and lessen my own distress about leaving.  If it feels like I didn’t say goodbye to you in Blacksburg, that’s because I did in the 4 months prior to actually moving out.  I tried to make sure I saw everyone that I could at least once and make the most of my time.

To those friends I met along the way in Blacksburg, thank you.  You saw me through the best and worst time of my life (so far) and I cannot be more grateful.  Everyone I met taught me something that will stick with me for a long time and I will treasure the memories of our time together.  For the weird, wonderful, chaotic times grad school was for me…I get to carry on. ^__^

And that, my friends, is my 2016 in a nutshell.  It was a difficult year, but soon, it will be over and new challenges will arise and we will tackle them all the same.  So I wish you all well in 2017, in all the adventures we’ll face the new acquaintances we’ll meet, and the hardships we’ll inevitably overcome.  Cheers!

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