It has become a joke to comment on how horrible 2016 has been. Personally, I was most saddened by the loss of actor Alan Rickman, but more than a year of tragedy, I see this year as one of the most unique I’ve ever witnessed. From Donald Trump being elected President of the U.S. to the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, a number of things have happened this year that nobody could’ve likely predicted — including the events that unfolded in my personal life. So, in a return to form of my nicknaming each year during my annual review, there is no question as to what name is most fitting this year: 2016 is the Year of the Unexpected.
Of course, some things still went along normally, too. I wrote about women plenty, even dedicating the entirety of February to a blog-series entitled “Love Month.” I even segued that love-theme into another traditional MarkMushakian.com topic, movies, when I wrote about some of my favorite love stories in film. I continued to share Out of the Box with those who care to notice and spent time writing about my inner explorations. But that’s about where the normalcy ends.
I was in a pub playing a trivia game with friends the night the Cubs won the championship this year, and though I am hardly a sports fan, the night was electric — we had witnessed a fun bit of history. The rest of my year has been similarly exciting:
- I began ice skating once a week, which I previously hadn’t done in years, and fell in love with the experience all over again! I’m no pro, and I haven’t been in a few months now (life/health/saving money), but it is one of my favorite things to do… peaceful, physical, and darn fun.
- After many, many years of wearing nothing but shirts and sweaters of the plain and patterned variety, I purchased for myself a couple of graphic tees. That particular blog post, for those not in the know, also coincided and referenced the fact that I’d met a potential-someone and taken her out on a pretty wonderful couple of dates. It didn’t go anywhere, much to my disappointment, but little did I know that even better things lay ahead…
- First, though… tragedy. The Avengers split up!! 😦
- While those superhero buddies became enemies, I went and found myself a new group of friends this year… with whom I’ve gone camping, hot-tubbed galore, hiked, visited a speak-easy, had odd/philosophical/personal conversations up the wazoo, and laughed to no end.
- During what was, up to this point, my favorite “Fourth” of July (July 3, actually), I challenged myself into another unexpected turn of events – I ordered a fish dinner. Blackened salmon, specifically. It was delicious, so, yeah.. I eat fish now, too. Unexpected!
- I’ve always enjoyed video games, but if you’d told me last year that I’d now be all a’buzz about a Pokemon game, I’d say you were a little crazy… but like most of the world, I started playing the heck out of Pokemon Go — and I haven’t stopped :).
- This year I finally saw the Milky Way galaxy for the first time, which I documented in a simple art piece.
- After thinking a local music group had disbanded before I ever had the chance to see them live, I took one of those new friends I made earlier in the year to see this group perform live — and it was absolutely the best show experience I’ve yet had.
- Speaking of the creative arts, and ramping up the level of great/unexpected towards the epic conclusion of my year’s experience, I self-published not only my first short story, but a second one! After years of creative hemming and hawing, I put out two written works that I am proud of (even when I get down on myself and feel otherwise), and I am looking forward to buckling down this year and producing even more work.
- A few weeks ago, KB enlisted in the Air Force, and she shipped off to basic training last week. My best friend, without whom I wouldn’t have met this group of friends, had some of the biggest laughs of the year, and without whom the next bullet point probably wouldn’t have happened, has ventured off into a brave new world and onto a potential career path that is going to offer her the stability and security she has deserved for so long. I’m proud of her, and I can’t wait to see what great things lie ahead for her — even if it means she’s elsewhere in the world.
- And, in the grand finale of the unexpected, ladies and gentlemen… I found love. With a woman. AND SHE’S REAL! In the grand poobah of unexpectations, Mark Mushakian has a girlfriend, and if that’s not reason alone to consider 2016 as one of the best years on record, then I don’t know what is! In fact, this is the one thing that I have most consistently hoped for during each annual review here, and I can now gladly look back at my 2015 post and proclaim that the one aspiration I had for this year has been fulfilled. I’ve had my first kiss, made my first Facebook relationship status change, had my first 100+ kisses ;), experienced my first utterance and return of the phrase “I love you” in romantic terms, had my first Christmas/Disneyland-visit/etc with a girlfriend, and we’re about a week shy of our 3rd month together. Will I marry this woman? Quite possibly. Is she one of the best things to ever happen to me? Most certainly :). And tonight? For the first time I’m gonna smooch someone at midnight on New Year’s Eve!
To many, 2016 is filled with negative memories and dire news, and once the hyperbole is erased from the commentary on this year, it definitely leaves behind an understandable wake of sad news. For me, though, 2016 has been just about the best year of my life. There have been plenty of down-slopes, but overall this year has been filled with a lot more good than bad… though I think that’s how life usually is, if one can see it that way. A year ago I couldn’t have at all predicted what would have gone down over the last 365 days, so I won’t sit here and attempt to type out specific hopes and dreams for 2017. Let’s just say that I’m going to live the heck out of this year ahead of me… and I can’t wait to see what happens next :).