Today is the last day of 2016. The popular opinion right now is that 2016 needs to end before any more celebrities die. I do not share that opinion. I had a great 2016 because I choose to focus on the positives this past year held. Of course bad things happened. Bad things happen every single day of every single year. Although it's sad that a famous person died, people lose loved ones everyday. And I say this as a diehard Debbie Reynolds fan and a diehard Carrie Fisher fan. "Singin' in the Rain" was the first musical I ever saw. One of the questions I answered on my application for UCB's Advanced Study program was about Debbie Reynolds and how I looked up to her holding her own with Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor. Losing someone who was a role model to me my entire life was incredibly tough, especially given the fact that it happened just a day after Carrie Fisher - another woman I admired deeply because of her writing and tenacious work ethic (not to mention my love for Star Wars). Although losing two women I aspired to emulate was difficult, I did not personally know them. And I do not support such a silly notion as 2016 being the reason for someone's departure from this life.
I'm sad to see 2016 end. It was truly a year of change and growth for me. In 2016, I lost 30 pounds and started living a healthier lifestyle. I learned to listen to my body and my mind, knowing when to push myself and knowing when I needed to give myself a break. I stopped nannying to pursue my calling full-time and still managed to stay close with the west coast family I grew to become a part of the first two-and-a-half years I lived in Los Angeles. I worked on various film and television sets including "Fresh Off the Boat," "6 Balloons," "Life in Pieces," "Flaked," and one of my personal favorites, "The Mindy Project." I worked on set, playing golf, in Adam Sandler's new Netflix movie "Sandy Wexler." I got to meet Adam at the driving range where we chatted and hit balls together. I can actually say that in 2016 I got to meet and play golf with Happy Gilmore. That is a memory I'll forever cherish, especially considering Adam Sandler was the kindest, most down-to-earth "celebrity" I've ever met. It's no surprise to me that he remains successful. It would be an honor to work with him any day.
2016 was the year I got into the Advanced Study Program at UCB where I can continue to learn and grow as an improviser and comedienne. It was also the year I started working Saturday nights at the UCB Franklin theater where I've met so many incredible improvisers, performers, and people who genuinely love the art of long-form improv. 2016 was the year I started doing musical improv. And it's the year I joined two separate indie teams - "That D," performing the last Tuesday of every month, attempting to grow and excel at the Pretty Flower.. and a musical improv team, "Garage Band," comprised of some of the best-hearted and most talented people I'm lucky to know. Meeting and being apart of these people's lives and journeys in 2016 only makes me even more excited for 2017.
2016 was also a huge year for my alma mater. Villanova, always considered an underdog even though they were ranked #1 during the season, won the NCAA Men's National Championship with a last-second buzzer beater. I'll always remember the moment it happened as I sat silently, anxiously watching on a couch in Mesa, Arizona (flights to Houston were like $1000.. too much!). It was truly a magical moment for the place I called home during some of the most formative years of my life. It inspired so many text threads, reinforcing the reason I made the choice to become part of the Villanova family.
2016 was the year I adopted my first puppy, Archibald. She has been challenging and exhausting and the best thing I've ever done. 2016 was also the year my nephew Kaiden Patrick was born, as well as the year I became a Godmother.
So, no. I'm not eagerly awaiting the end of 2016. Yes, some bad things happened. But that's life. And for every bad thing that happened, good things happened, too. One of my favorite quotes is from the novel Tuck Everlasting, and it states, "You can't pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest. Being part of the whole thing, that's the blessing." Life is all about high tides and low tides, negatives and positives. It's the way the world works, and as long as we remember to count the good things that have happened, it'll help us keep perspective that life has a way of balancing out the bad. Just keep your chin up and keep pushing forward. Life is beautiful if you let it be.
So cheers to 2016. It was a good year. And cheers to 2017. It will be an even better year.