In Spite of Everything, There Was a Lot to Celebrate in 2019

31 Dec

December sunsetI’ve gotta be honest: 2019 was a very good year.

Sure, in many ways, it was not. There was the toxic state of U.S. politics polluting our mindsets each and every day. The Mueller Report. Impeachment. The tweets. Ugh. There were many mass shootings and hate crimes. Rampant anti-Semitism. Hurricane Dorian and wildfires in the Amazon and California left destruction in their wake. Friends and family members battled cancer and had other health challenges. The Notre Dame fire was a historic tragedy. Multiple people I know lost their jobs and are still looking for work months later. We said goodbye to folks like Luke Perry, Pete Frates, Cokie Roberts, and Bill Buckner. And, much closer to home, I said goodbye to my aunt Leslie just a couple weeks ago.

Indeed, every day seemed to have its share of challenges.

But in spite of all that, and at the risk of being myopic or selfish or narrow-minded, when I look back on the past 12 months, I actually have a lot to be happy about. For example …

I got a new job, and was able to turn down or walk away from multiple other opportunities before accepting the one I did. Actually, I suggested a friend apply for one of those jobs I turned down, and he ended up being hired (and loving it). Good for him — and good for all of my other friends who found new jobs or were promoted this year. I’m so happy things worked out for us.

I was lucky enough to do some fun traveling for work and for fun, and sometimes both, to places including San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale.

I celebrated the 70th birthday of the Justice, my college student newspaper, by contributing to a special alumni issue and reconnecting with other former editors on campus at the reunion.

I saw a few good concerts, including John Mayer, Hootie & the Blowfish, Barenaked Ladies, Zac Brown Band, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, the Avett Brothers, and Yachtley Crew. (Yes, I said Yachtley Crew.)

I saw plenty of movies, of course. Eighty-one of them, to be exact, which brought my total for the decade to about 715.

There was good quality time with my niece and nephews, with my family, and with many of my friends.

I turned 45 years old, but didn’t get any older.

I went to Disneyland and Disney World, and Universal Studios in Los Angeles and Orlando.

I enjoyed yet another Duck Boat parade — this time for the six-time Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.

I met John Cusack and Jakob Dylan. Mario Lopez, too.

I ate good food at the brand-new Time Out Market in Boston, and on the deck of the Levins’ lake house in Indiana. (Mmmm … Drunken Salami.)

I was all in for the return of Beverly Hills 90210.

I missed Content Marketing World, but was there in spirit since my name was mentioned in two sessions and the keynote Q&A with Mindy Kaling.

I celebrated the 25th anniversary of Friends in Central Perk on the Warner Brothers lot in L.A. and at the pop-up experience in Boston.

And much more. You get the idea.

In short, I had a lot to be thankful for this year. And I’m not going to apologize for choosing to enjoy myself in the midst of everything else that was going on.

For the record, even if you didn’t have the kind of year I did, there was still plenty to smile about. For example, the way Pete Buttigieg ate his way through the Iowa State Fair, or Green Shirt Guy, or that perfect-10 floor routine by UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi, or the way brands of all kinds responded to a silly tweet from Netflix, or when David Ortiz threw out the first pitch at Fenway a few months after being shot in the Dominican Republic, or the excitement in Katie Bouman’s face when the world saw the first photograph of a black hole (which she helped make possible), or the way those two little boys ran to each other and embraced on the sidewalk in that viral video we all loved, or when Lil Nas X surprised a gym full of elementary school students and tried to perform “Old Town Road” over their screaming, or the way the U.S. women’s soccer team won the World Cup (and our admiration), or the way Greta Thunberg stood up to world leaders at the U.N. before being selected as Time magazine’s Person of the Year.

And that’s not all. There was actually a lot of good, exciting stuff happening all over the world this year. As a young boy said after a performance by the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston in May: “Wow!

That’s why, when I look back on the last 12 months, even though the news was full of headlines that frustrated or angered or saddened me, I still remember a year that was full of positivity and fun.

Now here we are at December 31, the last day of 2019. Sure, it’s always nice to turn the page to a new year — and I do have a lot to look forward to in 2020. But I hope you’ll understand if, instead of celebrating what’s to come, tonight I’m raising a glass and making one more toast in honor of the good year that’s ending.

In that spirit, here are two videos I’ve made that capture a few of my highlights. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the great memories, whether you’re in these slideshows or not.


Happy New Year!

5 Responses to “In Spite of Everything, There Was a Lot to Celebrate in 2019”


  1. The 2019 Happiness Project | Martin's Musings - December 31, 2019

    […] it meant that, on the last day of 2019, I had really fun ways to look back on what was, for me, a very good year. Happy New […]

  2. The 2020 Happiness Project | Martin's Musings - January 5, 2020

    […] years later, I can say it works. Every day, in one long, running blog post for the year, I note something happy that happened. […]

  3. Home Alone During the Coronavirus Pandemic: It’s Really Not That Bad | Martin's Musings - April 27, 2020

    […] of this stress is combined with the comedown I’ve felt after having such a fun and busy year in 2019, and the disappointment of all the things that have been cancelled or postponed that I was looking […]

  4. This Year for My Birthday, There’s One Thing I Want | Martin's Musings - June 7, 2020

    […] I got a new job, I saw a bunch of concerts and good movies, and generally, up until recently, I had a lot of fun. In spite of everything, I’m still finding reasons to be happy every single day. This […]

  5. 2022 Was a Rollercoaster of a Year, But It Was a Better One Overall | Martin's Musings - December 30, 2022

    […] In short, 2022 was an emotional rollercoaster, with some very nice highs and some legitimate lows. The next year will definitely have its share of difficulties. But as this one comes to a close, I’m choosing to focus more on the positive. And you know what? In general, I’m feeling pretty good — which is something I haven’t been able to say for three years.  […]

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