Personal Positives

Ah, 2017. You pretty much sucked. I managed to come up with a few good things to be grateful for at Thanksgiving, but overall you were a trash fire. Actually, a friend of mine said that my year escalated from trash fire to oil pipeline fire, so let’s go with that. Health-wise, money-wise, emotional calm-wise, pet-wise, politics-wise . . . you name it, I struggled with it this year.

2017, I hate you.

But! You weren’t completely awful. Or you were, but I managed to squeeze a little joy out of you anyway. So here are my Personal Positives From 2017. #silverlining #shininglight

Best Basic Requirement: I survived. This seems like a basic thing, but not in 2017. Let me be clear, my life was never actually at risk. But there were times when I wondered what it would be like to go screaming into the wilderness and never come back. I thought about chucking it all, just quitting. I struggled hard with a growing sense of bitterness. But I made it through the year, and if you are reading this, so did you. Well done!

Best City: Toronto. My husband and I have made several trips to Toronto so that he could receive specialized rehab therapy, and we have thoroughly enjoyed the city. The people are friendly, the coffee is fabulous, and our AirBnB hosts are lovely. Canada is great, although it would be greater if they were more open to disabled immigrants.

Best Book: DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE. I read some good books this year. In nonfiction, I have to single out How To Survive A Plague by David France, Through The Shadowlands by Julie Rehmeyer, and The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon. In fiction, I highly recommend The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin, The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley (I love her Patreon for monthly short stories too!), and The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis.

Best Movie: The Last Jedi. No question. No hesitation.

Best Actress: Even if you don’t see/like The Last Jedi (what is wrong with you), I strongly recommend following Kelly Marie Tran on Instagram. Her joy is completely infectious.

Best Netflix Bingewatch: The Great British Baking Show!!!! How did no one tell me to watch this sooner? Even my non-cooking, non-baking husband loved it. Also, the reboot of MST3K was tons of fun.

Best Household Appliance: The Instant Pot. I have joined this subculture. Over the course of a week, I made enough food to feed us every night for a month. It is beyond wonderful to go to my freezer each morning, choose a home cooked meal, and then not have to think about dinner any further.

Best Waste of Time: Watching makeup videos on YouTube. I have no idea why I do this.

Best Knit: I am not knitting as much as I used to, which really bums me out. But 2017 was the year of the shawl for me. I made four, including one in cashmere laceweight. Sorry, no pictures because I haven’t blocked it yet. This is a sample version, though.

Best Podcast: For serious, thought provoking journalism, I recommend Uncivil. For writing advice, you need to listen to Get To Work, Hurley.

Best Encounters With Nature: I held a baby black bear, y’all! He was so tiny! I also saw a shooting star while listening to three great horned owls call to each other. I hope it’s a good omen.

Best Cute: Porgs!

Best Giggles: My niece and nephew, hands down.

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9 Responses to Personal Positives

  1. Janelle says:

    Glad you had some bright spots in your year. Hugs

  2. jimells says:

    I’m grateful every time my 1994 plow truck starts. I’m grateful every time the oil furnace fires up – about every ten minutes in this weather (10F with a 30 mph wind), so that’s a lotta gratitude!

  3. Joe Landson says:

    Here is where I am supposed to say something witty to cheer you up, but instead just express awe and admiration that you do all you do, and embrace gratitude.

  4. ahimsa says:

    Sorry that 2017 was such a crappy year but thanks for taking the time to post about some positive items from the past year.

    I thought I would mention that I also enjoyed The Stone Sky! I have read the broken earth series as well as the inheritance series (not all in 2017, over a couple of years).

    So I thought I’d pass on my favorite books from 2017 — the first two in the Binti trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor. The third is due out soon (Jan 16).

    You might enjoy them if you have not already read them.

    • Jennie Spotila says:

      You are the second person in a week to recommend Binti. It’s been in my queue but it is moving higher in priority now!

  5. Kathy D. says:

    Well, at least some positives to feel good about. Movies and books are always a good thing for me.

    And thanks for your excellent blog, a must-read for me and others with ME/CFS.

    I am grateful for friends, neighbors (including children), Internet blogs on ME/CFS, book reviews, my neighborhood library with its good movies and books, ADAPT and all other groups resisting Washington’s policies, my favorite hosts on TV news programs, my wonderful apartment — and surviving one more year with ME/CFS and the disaster in D.C.

    Hope for a better 2018!

  6. Joey says:


  7. Liz Burlingame says:

    Thank You Jennie! I appreciate the encouragement that We survived. Endurance is important. Also, MST3K is back?! Hooray! How did I not hear about that? You are a treasure-trove of useful information! I share your hope that the owls, (along with the shooting star) meant good luck. We have a great-horned owl here in Atlanta that has been hooting for weeks — surely this north/south owl chorus bodes well for all of us! Thank you most especially for making me laugh. Great timing. Really appreciate it.

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