2016: It was not all garbage fires

2016 wasn’t all bad.

In the midst of thinking about all the bad things that happened in 2016 – including Zika, Harambe, the Pulse shooting, everything that happened in Aleppo, the election, the many celebrity deaths, the many deaths of Black Americans at the hands and guns of police, the explosion in hate and harassment following Trump’s rise and the normalization of the alt-right – it was easy to forget the good things that happened, and even feel a little guilty if your personal life during those 365 days did not resemble a garbage fire.

I was one of those people. I had a mind-numbingly good year.

It started with an early-morning flight on January 1, when I moved back to Toronto from Yellowknife and spent lots of time with my family.

A few days after landing, I spoke at the Canadian University Press national conference about what it’s like to be among the relatively small group of journalists in the country who are people of colour. I met some great students and speakers. I hope I inspired someone to keep going.

I spent my birthday in New York with friends – brilliant, incredible, smart people – many who I had only known through Twitter.

I was chosen to be part of The Globe and Mail’s summer staff, accepted to my dream journalism program at Columbia University and awarded the Lorana Sullivan Scholarship. It felt better than winning the lottery.

I went back to Yellowknife with my mother, taking her dog-sledding, out to see the Northern Lights and a full view of what my life up there was like. I went back to New York for AAJA’s Executive Leadership Program and Columbia’s Open House. I helped my brilliant friend Taylor Lorenz move, met her family and more friends.

I have a good life. #nofilter #mexico

A post shared by Karen K. Ho (@heykarenho) on

My family went to Mexico for a week, where we swam with sea turtles, splashed around cenotes and spent a lot of time eating.

I spent the summer writing and reporting about business at The Globe and Mail. It is a job I had been dreaming about for years and I was thrilled to work in a newsroom full of so many smart, interesting people. I even helped make videos about personal finance and The Trump Game.

I went to the National Magazine Awards with my friend Desmond Cole. I sat with editor-in-chief Sarah Fulford, writer Stephen Marche and publisher Ken Hunt. I did not win any awards, but I felt like a winner anyway.

My mom helped me move to New York, an adventure in itself.

This fall I took classes with two Pulitzer winners from the Wall Street Journal, a seminar with The New Yorker’s Jelani Cobb, met the authors of An Unbelievable Story of Rape, learned how to produce audio, went to a Rangers hockey game, participated in a comedy show, went through some tough job interviews, read many incredible stories and drank a lot of coffee. I made the kind of friends you imagine inviting to your future wedding. I learned how to live alone and what it’s like to finally not constantly worry about money.

I started seeing a therapist. I learned investing in learning about yourself is worth it.

I went on dates and realized not everything has to be a capital-R relationship. Old and new friends came to visit me in New York. I fell in love with Noodle the dog. I avoided being on a diet. I wrote some viral tweets. I learned I am funny.

Sure, there were some bad things that also happened. But this is a pretty good list. And I’m grateful for all of it.

Now, onto dealing with the fact that I’m turning 30.

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