While I’ve complained a great deal about 2017–the politics of the past year have made an activist of me–the year had its joys as well, and for once, I’d like to focus on the good.

As arbitrary as it is to look back on December 31, I’m a sucker for an opportunity to reflect and make resolutions. I tend to keep my resolutions quieter, as–let’s face it–they often die a quiet death, but it’s fun to look back at the things I’ve enjoyed.

This list is in no order whatsoever and I refuse to put down generic sappy things like “my family,” because my friends and family know how I feel and I don’t need to publicly air that. This is simply things that for whatever reason made me happy this past year (with the caveat that as soon as I post this, I’ll think of twelve more things I’ll think I should have mentioned):

  • All Grown-Up by Jami Attenberg: Interestingly, as I was reading this, I wasn’t sure how much I really liked the main character, and then I realized it was because she was so damn real. This book completely stayed with me and I really loved it.
  • Finally finding boots that are not only comfortable but can handle the New England winter
  • Whole Life Challenge: It’s silly isn’t it, needing an app to tell me to eat right, sleep more, and exercise? But the fact is, I have a hard time doing it without that push. I did this in October (forced the husband to do it as well) and liked it so much, I’m doing it again in January.
  • Finishing a draft of my novel: I know it’s not even close to done, but getting that first draft down on paper is such an amazing feeling. My first drafts are closer to second drafts (I don’t count that first—vomit—draft, or as a friend refers to it, Draft Zero), and I’m super excited by the story, so I’m eager to dive back into writing in 2018.
  • “Crowded Places” by Banks: This song puts in such a wistful mood. My go-to song for 2017.
  • Rediscovering my love of crochet (after crocheting hats for the Women’s March).
  • The podcasts ”S-Town” and Radiolab’s “More Perfect”
  • The joy of researching for my current novel and the pleasure I take in falling down rabbit holes, collecting random, ridiculous information that is only of interest to myself.
  • Attending the Women’s March in D.C. with my sister and my daughter.
  • Modern Girls went into it’s fourth printing, making me eternally grateful to all the amazing readers out there. I adored the 26 book clubs and groups I visited with (both in-person and virtually).
  • My husband has a new job, which is neither here nor there for me, except that the hours/commute have made it possible for us to have a regular date night, which I do appreciate.
  • The opportunity to go away for a weekend for a Jewish women’s writers’ retreat, where I not only wrote some interesting pieces, but I met an amazing group of women with whom I know I’ll remain close.
  • Discovering how amazingly talented my friends are. Faint Promise of Rain by Anjali Mitter Duva blew me away. Seriously. I didn’t think this novel of 16th century India would excite me, but I could not put it down. Not only is the story amazing, but the writing is lush and gorgeous. I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi is both sad and uplifting and has the perfect ending and I can’t wait to read what Abby writes next.
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime
    The awesome perk of being a writer and reading books that aren’t out yet but are so good I can’t wait for everyone else to get to read them too.
  • Flow yoga: After taking lots of Power Yoga classes because I thought Flow classes were for wimps, but really not liking the classes, switched to the slower class. Call me wimpy. I love it. And it’s a fabulous stretch.
  • Hearing Depeche Mode in concert at Mohegan Sun with some fabulous women.
  • Camping with the Girl Scouts.
  • The non-serious novel: The world oppressed so much this year that I needed an escape. I read so much for research and craft and nonfiction. This year I embraced the “just for fun” novel, where I wasn’t studying how it was written or learning something new or diving into deep thoughts. These are books that are simply so much fun to read. I will do more of this next year, but this past year I enjoyed tremendously Fitness Junkies by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza, The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn, and Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin.
  • Seeing Bernie Sanders with my son and Hillary Clinton with my daughter.
  • The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict and Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar: These two novels are historical fiction at their finest. The first will make you hate Albert Einstein but be completely moved by his first wife, Mileva Maric. The second is about Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolfe and I was completely wrapped up in the time period and their lives.
  • “Havana by Camilia Cabello: My favorite dance-in-the-kitchen-and-annoy-the-kids song.

If there’s something else that should have been a favorite (or will be a favorite in 2018), be sure to let me know! I hope your 2017 had lights of happiness as well.