Is it just me, or have we been wrapping up this year for a decade? The week between Christmas and New Year has always been chock full of year in review articles, best and worst lists, and lessons learned… it’s usually one of my favorite weeks of the year! I love a good retrospective- there’s something glorious about laughing again at something you laughed at in March.

But, this year it feels different, somehow. Rather than the usual lighthearted lifestyle fare, these articles feel a bit desperate.

Desperate to make sense of a year that didn’t go as planned. Or perhaps, desperate to regain control of a world that has shown us how little control we actually have? I’m not sure what the desperation is about exactly, but one thing is for sure:

It’s all kind of a bummer out there in the interwebiverse.

But wait! What about the clothes and the performances and the ridiculousness!?! Where are the listicles that make me smile? Where do I discover new moments to enjoy, way after the fact?

I don’t want to remember “14 moments that showed us who we really are” or “10 reasons that 2020 showed us our planet is in real danger” or “100 reasons to cry yourself to sleep.”

I need “50 people who showed us that real heroes wear scrubs!” and “25 people who showed us the uplifting power of podcasts (like Dr Adams!)”

There is much to be grateful for.

Well, never one to go down without a fight, I searched the internet to prepare a new, better, less depressing list of lists for you. I skipped anything that was too snarky or a was a secret pocket of existential dread. You’re welcome.

When you are done perusing, meet me at the bottom of this email for the real challenge: making your own list of good things to remember.

Positive Year in Review for You

Rolling stone I learned a lot from this roundup! Famous people were up to a lot of things this year! From (almost) naked food delivery to Dolly Parton’s bedtime stories, to Neil Young playing Through My Sails live for the very first time ever.

Also, apparently, Riverdale did an episode focused on Hedwig and the Angry Inch and it’s taking everything I have to keep writing this, instead of hopping over there and losing myself in that decadence.

Vogue Haute couture is not my usual thing, so there is something about fashion roundups that feel like I’m watching the news from another planet. Who wore these things? It looks so uncomfortable! I thought we were all exclusively wearing lularoe leggings during the pandemic? No? Just me? OK.

Popsugar‘s Wildest Pop Culture Moments got a laugh and happily knowing nod from me. Oh yeah, remember that four seasons landscaping event? Taylor’s Swift’s TWO albums? Jada Smith’s “entanglement?” Good times.

WaMu’s Happiest Moments. A DC-specific list of happiness. They dug deep and found a nice list of silver linings including: Ballerina! Baby Panda! Santa!

Cheddar’s happiest moments. This one is supported with silly social media, that I enjoyed perusing. Elon Musk dancing? Ok, I can work with that.

Not a Lot to Work With

Not to pat my own back, but this list was NOT easy to put together. I had to do three different searches (a labor of love, no?) to find enough positivity to make a list of five. FIVE.

What does that tell me?

We are going to have to take this one on ourselves.

Are you ready for your challenge?

Make your own “Best of 2020” calendar. Look through your calendars, journals, planners, emails… anywhere you need to go, GO. Find the good stuff. Unearth the gold!

Things to include:

  • We all got to watch Hamilton on Broadway on Disney+.
  • You took a nap in the middle of a zoom call and no one noticed.
  • You HAVE exclusively worn leggings for 6 months. (I knew it!)
  • You didn’t have to stand in line for TSA at all this year.
  • You didn’t have to have awkward conversations with your crazy Aunt Mildred at Thanksgiving.

This is our chance to remember that even in our hardest years, there’s much to be grateful for, many to appreciate, and fun to be had by all.

A happy new year to you (and me, and all of us!).

About the author

Dr. Amanda Crowell is a cognitive psychologist and business coach who helps accidental entrepreneurs get more clients and have a bigger impact. She is the author of Great Work, the host of the Unleashing Your Great Work podcast, and the creator of the Great Work Journals. Amanda's TEDx talk has received almost two million views and has been featured on TED's Ideas blog and Ted Shorts. Her ideas have also been featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz, and Thrive Global.