Most people I know were happy to see 2016 go bye-bye. I have to admit I wasn’t one of them.
I can understand why so many hated last year and couldn’t wait for day No. 365 to come and go, so they could start anew with 2017.
For some folks it was all about the election, how it played out and who won, which left them wishing 2016 had never happened.
Others were distraught at the loss of so many iconic cultural figures in music and cinema.
Last year seemed like a real dog pile of celebrity deaths … David Bowie and Prince in early 2016, and George Michael and Carrie Fisher near the end, with many, many more greats lost during the intervening months.
I wasn’t happy with the outcome of the presidential election. I also wasn’t happy to see so many wonderful singers and actors — whose music and characters were a part of my youth — fade to black.
But I couldn’t on Dec. 31, as the clock neared midnight, tell 2016 good riddance.
Personally, it wasn’t a bad year for me. On the contrary, 2016 may well go down as one of the best of my life.
If I had my own Academy Awards, last year would have won an Oscar.
While there were dark moments in music and cinema during 2016, my personal life took a bright turn accompanied by an 80s soundtrack.
My life also happened to play out like a romantic comedy of sorts.
The plot of my 2016 life, in fact, sometimes resembled the 1989 classic “When Harry Met Sally.”
Only my version would be titled “When Noel Met Shelly.”
My version oddly mimicked the original movie, in which Harry Burns meets Sally Albright, gradually becomes friends with her, and slowly, obliviously falls in love.
Mine didn’t take 12 years to play out, as Harry’s did on the big screen.
But I did unexpectedly meet Shelly, like Harry met Sally.
I did slowly become friends with Shelly, like Harry did with Sally.
I even grew closer to Shelly, cluelessly unaware how special she had become, like Harry’s journey with Sally.
Fortunately, I had my own waking moment, like Harry, that opened my eyes and led to a very happy ending.
Harry’s took place on New Year’s Eve (he definitely had no reason to hate that year), while mine occurred as a two-parter near and on Halloween.
My eye-opening moment came during a Pet Shop Boys concert I attended with Shelly.
I wasn’t exaggerating earlier about the 80s soundtrack to my story.
While the music of the Pet Shop Boys surrounded us at the Fox Theater in Oakland, I experienced an emotional and transforming moment that felt like something penned by a screenwriter.
I saw Shelly, like Harry saw Sally, in a new light that made me realize she wasn’t just a friend.
My story deviated from Harry’s when it came to the timing of the romantic “payoff,” as they say in Hollywood. His came right after the waking moment, on New Year’s Eve. The big kiss.
Mine came three nights after the concert, on Halloween at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco. We were surrounded by revelry and music, making the moment very movie-like.
Regardless of the fact it took more than one scene for me, my payoff was no less significant.
I am as happy as Harry was at the end of his tale.
I do have one up on Harry. My story is still showing, so to speak.
Mine is playing without end, even as I write this column.
Credits are not rolling on my story, nor is there a return to reality that comes with the end of watching “When Harry Met Sally.”
My story is reality, demonstrating that life indeed imitates art sometimes.
My story also is the reason why I found myself applauding 2016, not booing and hissing it, or demanding my money back.