Kicking 2014 to the Curb #SomeYearsSuck #HelloFuture

Here’s the deal – 2014 sucked for lots of us.

Sure, there were some happy moments, some inspiring moments, some moments of sheer brilliance.

But there were also many sad moments, heartbreaking moments, frustrating moments, terrifying moments, some moments that made you so angry you wanted to pound your fist through a wall.

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Collectively, 2014 was a troubled year around the world. Reflecting on it not only from the perspective of my personal life, but the perspective of national and global affairs, it’s ending up a year that, for the most part, we’d really rather forget. But it’s sort of shitty to go out on just a low note. So let’s take a look at 2014 – the good, the bad and the ugly – how it really was, holistically. And feel free to add your personal and/or national/global observations in comments, as I’m sure to have missed many.

Crappy stuff that happened in 2014: (aka why we should be REALLY HAPPY to kick 2014 to the curb)

  • The rise of ISIS & all that’s come with it
  • Everything about Ferguson (and beyond) and systemic racism
  • Everything about the revenge murders of the NYPD cops
  • The Sydney siege
  • The suicide of Robin Williams
  • Ebola crossing borders in new and dramatic ways
  • That freaking Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie
  • Shirley Temple died
  • The Bill Cosby allegations
  • James Garner died
  • Joan Rivers died
  • Gamergate
  • Stephen Collins admitted he is a child molester
  • Elk River water was poisoned in WV
  • So much general moral erosion in national sports – from Sterling to Rice and many others
  • Companies refused contraception for religious regions – legally
  • The overdose of Philip Seymour Hoffman
  • Hideously botched (death penalty) executions
  • Everything about the infrastructure of the Sochi Olympics (underscoring a much bigger problem)
  • Flight 370 disappeared
  • Richard Attenborough died
  • Casey Kasem died
  • Pete Seeger died
  • Conflict in Ukraine
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report – it’s not good, folks
  • Boko Haram kidnapped 270 girls
  • Harold Ramos died
  • Lauren Bacall died
  • Sewol ferry disaster
  • Israel vs. Palestine, again
  • America ran out of Velveeta, for a while
  • Flight 17 was shot down
  • Flight 5017 crashed
  • The Taliban killed over 100 school children and presumably innocent adults
  • Flight 8501 crashed
  • Maya Angelou died
  • Joe Cocker died
  • Edward Herrmann died
  • We clocked that laparoscopic morcellators could actually spread uterine cancer
  • Everything about Kim Kardashian
  • The Colbert Report ended 😦
  • We witnessed the end of the cinematic era of Middle Earth
  • 22 animals went extinct
  • Leelah Alcorn‘s suicide – and the way we treat trans people in general

Good stuff that happened in 2014: (aka things we should probably remember instead of the list above)

  • The “I’ll ride with you” campaign after the Sydney siege
  • The successful test launch of Orion
  • The successful Rosetta mission
  • The Pope’s Synod ignited real discussion about some pretty important (and long-overdue for reevaluation) aspects of Catholicism
  • Gas prices fell
  • The US economy began to stabilize
  • Everything about North Korea – because some good actually came out of our “diplomatic” relations with them this year (e.g. release of prisoners), and the bad stuff was absolutely hilarious (not the movie, but the actual events surrounding it)
  • Same-sex marriage became legal in more states
  • The Affordable Care Act became a thing, and helped a lot of people
  • Malala won the Nobel Peace Prize and inspired us all
  • The shoddy treatment of US veterans finally came to light, opening the door for improvement – though when (or if) things will be fixed remains unknown
  • Some states raised the minimum wage
  • While annoying, the Ice Bucket Challenge raised a lot of money for ALS/motorneuron disease
  • The Cold War may finally be ending, as we tentatively start talking to Cuba again
  • President Obama implemented the largest ocean sanctuary in the Pacific
  • Broadway broke barriers with an African American Cinderella, and an African American Phantom
  • Mo’ne Davis redefined throwing like a girl
  • 200 countries made an effort to stem climate change
  • Costa Concordia refloated – a pretty cool feat of engineering
  • Pebble Mine was defeated
  • According to the FAO less of the world’s population lives in hunger and malnourishment than ever before
  • West Ham ended the year in the top half of the table (if you’re a Hammer, this will impress you)

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There’s a lot more in the bad column than the good column. I really did look hard for happier stories but I got tired. (Here’s where you can help me in comments, maybe?) Perhaps I’m colored by my own overall pessimism about the year. It hasn’t been a humdinger for me, but it’s had its moments. Here are my personal ups and downs:

Downers:

  • My kid’s massive allergic reaction to amoxicillin, 2 weeks of hell
  • My kid became a very picky eater (largely as a result of the regression during that 2 week reaction)
  • Tremendous job-related stress in the 1st half of the year
  • My kid went through a lot of stuff that’d put most adults on edge – and he’s only 2 (I’ll talk more about this soon, maybe – it’s been a long and private struggle)
  • I proved I’m getting old by requiring my first podiatrist appointment
  • I felt lonely a lot of the time
  • That whole thing with the Wal-Mart fish
  • I had no real down time for myself (this hasn’t eased up much, but I’m getting used to it – I can steal a few minutes here and there, like just before I sleep I can read a book for a bit, and that helps me decompress)
  • I’ve wanted to take a proper bubble bath for a year but haven’t had the time/opportunity or really felt as if I could afford the time it’d take for the luxury
  • I ended the year in absolute agony for the week over Christmas, as a sinus infection inflamed what was apparently a dead tooth (that didn’t show up on X-ray in that state previously), which required emergency root canal nobody had time to do – leaving me with the world’s worst, 10-day toothache (and all told, I’ll be about $1200-1500 poorer for it)
  • I got sick with every possible germ, likely exacerbated by my 2 year old getting lots of colds (as is age appropriate); one episode turned into bronchitis so severe I nearly ended up in hospital
  • Deaths in the family
  • Incredible amounts of stress through the spring/summer related to something I’m just not going to talk about publicly, but suffice to say it was of vital importance, and it scared me to death for 6 solid months
  • I’d actually really like to end the year with a New Year’s kiss, but it won’t happen

Uppers:

  • My kid made lots of developmental strides, and talked more
  • I got a great new job and I love my boss (and worked two jobs for much of the year – all in marketing as usual)
  • I had an amazing weekend vacation in Cape May with my family, so I could introduce my son to my love the sea, and it still makes me happy to think about that weekend
  • I finally saw The Presets, and it still makes me happy to think about that night
  • I watched my son explore new things and master new skills, and generally just had the blessing of him in my life
  • My family remained very supportive, and I wouldn’t be able to do this single working motherhood thing without their help
  • I took my son for his first steam train ride (and his second was riding Thomas!)
  • I took my son to his first aquarium visit during Shark Week
  • I got an awesome signed CD from She Wants Revenge (sometimes the little things really matter!)
  • I got a great new mattress and box spring (but am $900 poorer for it)
  • I saw my first Broadway show in years (Wicked) and had fun in the city
  • I spent some Christmas $$ on a new pro headset and am now able to listen to my music the way God intended – it’s stunning
  • I found a beautiful special needs kitty I’m going to meet soon to see if we hit it off – if so, she’ll come live with us in a foster-to-adopt arrangement
  • I made some neat new friends, mostly through social media, but even distant friends are nice to have
  • I learned a lot of new things…and I learned that some things it’s better to forget

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I’m interested to see what 2015 brings. I hope it brings more peace and love and responsibility on the national/global scale. I’m sure it’ll be a rollercoaster. Personally, I mostly hope this is the year things really come together for my son as he starts his preschool adventures. As for me, well… Even if 2015 is utter shit, I’ll survive that, too.

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Want some more perspective on 2014? Try these.

The Year in Poems

The Year in Instagram

Dave Barry’s Year in Review

Good Stuff in 2014 – by the Data

Note: you’re perfectly within your rights to disagree with what I’ve put in the good vs. bad columns here, but I refuse to argue about it, because this is my corner of cyberspace and you can go get your own. I’m actually not a “bleeding heart liberal,” I’m Jeffersonian, but also happen to be a decent human being. Besides, this isn’t about politics – this is about our shared experiences, even if we look at them from different angles. Peace.

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