This could very well be my last post of 2016 and while it could go a lot of ways – most easily in the way of jubilation that 2016 is finally almost over – I’ve decided to celebrate 2016. I write a lot about my life and experiences on Abbott and June because, well, that’s what I do, but as we approach 2017 it didn’t make a ton of sense to celebrate what this year has given me or the struggles I’ve faced because for those who read A+J often, you already know all about it. So, I’ve decided to celebrate the wonderful things the people around me, my friends and family, have accomplished this year because they’re all fantastic ordinary people just living their lives, without realizing what they’ve done (and are doing) is amazing and completely celebration-worthy.

Let’s start with the losses. All of us lost public idols and icons in 2016 (Prince, Mohamed Ali, Bowie, George Michael, Gene Wilder – the list goes on and on) but a lot of my friends and family lost legendary idols and icons in the forms of mothers, fathers, grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles this year, too. They’ve mourned their losses with grace and continued to honor their loved ones’ influence in inspiring ways, ways that have made me wonder how they do it. They’ve been quietly strong and kind among a sea of people who have no idea they’re hurting. It really is amazing. I’m so proud to know them and so lucky to love them.

This year I’ve also watched as some of my closest friends have made possibly the hardest choice any person can make and chosen to put themselves first. They’ve chosen to risk their day-to-day comfort for the possibility of total bliss and personal fulfillment. They’ve given up what they’ve known for what feels like forever and walked out on a limb. I’ve watched them doubt this choice. And then revel in it. And then doubt it again. But mostly I’ve seen them slowly uncover happiness on their own and succeed tremendously, regardless of how scary it might be. It’s inspiring and heart-melting. I’m like a proud mom over here just taking it all in. So just remember – you’re never too old or too set in your ways to choose happiness over convention.

Other friends had their hearts broken in 2016. The rug was ripped from underneath them and their futures seemingly shattered. Heartbreak, in some illogical sense, seems like this thing we outgrow – until suddenly, there it is. But even with no idea of what tomorrow would be or how they’d deal, my heartbroken friends have done fantastic. They, too, have been quietly strong and kind in a world that has no idea they’re hurting. They’ve been gracious, they’ve been adventurous, they’ve been heartbroken and, yet, hopeful. They’re inspiring reminders that the world will go on with or without you and you can choose to join in or sit out – I’m so proud to have friends determined to join in.

This year I’ve had friends fall in love. Put themselves out there and dedicate themselves to putting in the work. Some have gotten married and engaged. They’ve put all of their eggs in one basket with their other halves and celebrated with family and friends. They are happy and fearless and it’s awesome. There really is nothing better than seeing your friends and family happy.

I’ve had friends set health goals for themselves and spend the entire year working to hit them. They’ve sacrificed social outings, those much-needed happy hours and hours of sleeping in and it’s paid off tremendously. They look fantastic and they’ll probably live until their 300 which depending on who you are might not be that awesome – to me though, it sounds incredible. They keep me moving when I’d rather sleep and they serve as great reminders that we’ve all got to make time to take care of ourselves.

And lastly, I’ve had friends FINALLY become mothers and fathers after journeying for years and years and years to do so. They are ah-mazing parents and beautifully strong willed. I’m reminded almost daily by their little ones not to take any moment with my kids for granted. They’re great inspirations for those struggling to start their own families and really are such a light for the rest of us. Don’t ever give up, anything is possible.

I have a lot of ordinary friends living fantastic, inspiring lives and while it might not have seemed like it, 2016 was their year. I’m so grateful to call them framily. I’ve actually never called them that but I’m going to start IN 2017!

Have a really, REALLY great New Years.

NOW, onto 2017!