I subscribe to the idea that 2016 generally sucked. (John Oliver’s hilarious ode to 2016 pretty much sums up how I feel about the year. Warning: it has A LOT of cursing.) If you’d prefer to skip the cursing, this picture captures the sentiment.

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@introvertdoodles also captured it well.

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And, as a U.S. citizen, I am far from optimistic about the next four years. But, 2016 wasn’t completely awful, right? Here are some things I found in 2016 that not only didn’t suck but were kind of awesome.

If I was your girl.jpgGreat Book Things in 2016 

Of course, I have to start with books. Also, just saying, but when exactly will we learn to skirt the space-time continuum or merge our consciousness with robots so I can just read every second of every day?

  1. There were many thought-provoking 2016 books releases that made people empathize, learn, grow and celebrate the human spirit.  Here are some examples:  Commonwealth, Underground Railroad, Swing Time, The Wangs vs The World.
  2. YA books didn’t disappoint either. Among many others, books such as And I Darken, Empire of the Sands, The Girl from Everywhere, American Girl caught imaginations and pushed boundaries.
  3. Indie books continued to increase diversity in stories by throwing off the chains of standard publishing, including You Were Here, Never Look an American in the Eye: Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the Making of a Nigerian American,  and Welcome to the Universe.
  4. LGBT characters and literature didn’t take a pause because of ignorance and oppression. If I Was Your Girl comes to mind here.
  5. To top off my 2016 favorite book things, my first book came out – The Travelers. If you’re me, that goes in the positive column. So I kind of have to put it here.

 Great People Things in 2016

  1. 200 strangers attended the funeral of a homeless WWII veteran with no family.
  2. Catholic and Orthodox church leaders meet for first time in 1,000 years.
  3. 2016 is on track to be America’s most philanthropic year ever.
  4. Team USA brought home the gold from the Rio Olympics, including Simone Biles, Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps, Simone Manuel (first black woman to take gold in an individual swimming event!)

Great Animal Things in 2016

  1. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a ban on the sale of ivory products as part of an effort to strengthen protections for African elephants.

  2. World tiger count rises for first time in 100 years.
  3. Giant pandas and manatees are no longer endangered.
  4. Yellowstone’s grizzly bears passed a major milestone, completing one of the greatest wildlife comeback stories in history.

Great U.S. Politics Things in 2016 (Yep, there were some and I’m going here. Brace yourselves.)

  1. Although the Republican-controlled North Carolina government continues to make many controversial moves (some people are even saying it’s not technically a democracy anymore, which is terrifying), it still managed to oust the governor who put that awful anti-LGBT bathroom law in place. That’s worth celebrating.
  2. Kamala Harris made history as the first black woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate in over two decades. (Yay! BUT, to quote one of the latest additions to the Oxford-English dictionary, also, Srsly? Two decades?)
  3. Ilhan Omar also made history as the first Somali-American Muslim legislator in the House of Representatives.
  4. Tammy Duckworth, a woman who is also an Iraq War veteran, became the second woman in Illinois’s history to become a senator.

  5. Catherine Cortez Masto also made history as the first Latina U.S. Senator after winning in Nevada.

Other Random Great Things of 2016 tubman

  1. Harriet Tubman will appear on $20 bills.
  2. World hunger reached its lowest point in 25 years.
  3. Homelessness in the U.S. declined by 35% since 2007.
  4. Global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels did not grow at all in 2016.
  5. The Chinese government placed a ban on new coal mines and doubled its renewables targets for 2020.
  6. Unemployment rate hits pre-recession low.
  7. Every major grocery and fast-food chain in the U.S. had pledged to use only cage-free eggs by 2025.

OK 2016, I’ll admit it. You didn’t completely suck. And bring it on 2017! I’m not afraid of you! I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that this list is even longer next year.