Good things

It’s been a very bad year.

The heartbreaking mass shooting in Orlando. Protests and civil unrest. The awful deaths of black men at the hands of cops. The awful deaths of cops at the hands of radicals. A coup in Turkey. Senseless, gut-wrenching deaths in Nice.

Nearly every word that comes out of Donald J. Trump’s mouth or Twitter account.

It’s enough to make me want to climb back into bed until 2017.

Still, if I stop long enough to take a deep breath, I can remind myself that there are still some good things. On a recent sleepless night, I tried to count them like fence-jumping sheep.

There’s been civil unrest, yes, but there have also been important conversations about race, class and privilege. Conversations that will evolve into action and change.

There have been mass shootings and other horrific acts, but according to FBI data, violent crimes actually continue to be on the decline.

This is perhaps the most vitriolic election on record, but a woman was finally selected by a major party to be its candidate. My nieces will never have to wonder if they can do such a thing, too.

There’s been an onslaught of bad news from every corner of the world, but we’re still treated to fun distractions like Stranger Things and Pokémon Go.

Everything feels so fraught with fear and uncertainty, but this weekend I harvested some of the first tomatoes that my black thumb has ever managed to grow.

It may seem like it’s been a very bad year, but the good things really are still there.