This post is part of my ongoing relationship with Netflix as a Stream Team partner.
A new year is always a time of hope, starting fresh, rebirth. Even though the changing of a date doesn’t really change everything, it’s nice that so many of us are on board with these traditions. I always look forward to a new year, but this time I feel robbed of my enthusiasm.
As 2016 progressed and gained a reputation for being cursed, particularly with a tidal wave of beloved celebrities passing, there seemed to be a consensus that we’d be better off when the year ended. Except that we won’t be. Not in the United States at least, where we’ve willingly elected a racist, stupid, narcissistic piece of shit to be our next president. I admit that I never even entertained the notion that this was an actual possibility so I was stunned when the unthinkable happened. A tried and true Hillary Clinton fan, I thought Trump was her ideal opponent. Because who would vote for such a joke of a human? And yet, here we are.
I’m depressed not just for our future and that we are going to regress 50 years in a short amount of time, but that humanity itself seems to be going backward. We’re getting stupider, less empathetic, more divided. I’m scared and sad and I feel powerless. My coping mechanism is to bury my head in the sand and stop paying attention to the news. It’s the opposite of what I should be doing. I hope to turn it around and do my part to keep our country from slipping into the darkest regions of hell. But I’m not ready just yet.
I can’t let myself be too depressed when this is my daily reality:
I have the best family life. My little family at home and all my family in New Jersey and elsewhere…it’s all great. I’m extremely lucky and I know how good I have it. I want to protect it. I want Violet’s generation to grow up in a good world. I want my own generation to thrive. I want my parents generation to have their best years ahead of them, and not have everything they worked for go up in flames. So…yeah. 2017 scares me.
Aside from letting a mad man destroy the world, there are some things to look forward to in 2017. I turn the big four-oh in less than two weeks. And this year we finally get the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie. (And a bunch of other cool pop culture stuff.) In August we’ll be captivated by the Great American Eclipse. So, it won’t be a total wash.
There are some Netflix shows to look forward to as well.
I am really excited for the second seasons of Love and Master of None. After meeting Paul Rust at a party at SXSW, I’m especially invested in Love.
Season 4 of Orange is the New Black gutted me so I’m eagerly anticipating the next season this summer. And of course, my beloved BoJack Horseman which is one of my favorite shows of all time.
This post feels incomplete if I don’t address the losses of 2016. I felt notably heartsick over Sharon Jones, who I’ve loved for a long time. I saw Miss Sharon Jones! when the Austin Film Society ran it and I felt even closer to her. She was my favorite live performer. I can’t believe that era is over.
I shed tears over David Bowie. And the news about George Michael hasn’t quite sunk in. I listened to him for my entire adult life and about half of my childhood. Wham’s Freedom was on my very first mixtape (that I made myself on a cassette, holding my boombox up to record MTV.) Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 was among my first CDs when I only had a few. I listened to it thousands and thousands of times and I still consider it to be a masterpiece. I chose Kissing a Fool as the song for my wedding party to dance to at my reception. I’d always hoped he’d find his way out of the darkness and make more music. What a shame.
Garry Shandling was also someone I loved and I’ll continue my tradition of watching The Larry Sanders Show annually. Talk about genius ahead of his time.
The hardest part of 2016 is something that I will carry with me forever. The deaths of two close friends changed how I feel about life and I’m still working to process them. The circumstances were different, one a suicide and one a baffling accident. I loved both and am unable to shake the sadness I feel about losing them. I find myself crying at random times when I think of either one and the holidays were particularly difficult. I dissolved into tears thinking about their families leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. I know grief must run a course and eventually I won’t feel it so sharply, but all these months later, it still grips me tightly.
Life is precious. And that’s what I’m carrying into 2017. I hope to make the most of it.