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54 Good Things That Happened In 2018

From Gritty to all of the women who won seats in Congress in the midterms.

2018: What a year! A lot of it was not so great, but thankfully, there were some actually really nice things that made it lighter, more enjoyable, and dare I say fun?

HBO / Via giphy.com

Here are some of the most memorable ones:

1. Everyone fell in love with a really hot Mandarin duck in Central Park.

2. And Knickers the giant cow was a source of fascination.

3. And then there were all those other absolute units.

4. Meghan Markle became a duchess and announced that she's pregnant with a future royal baby.

Getty Images

"It was 4:30 a.m. when my alarm rang on May 19, 2018. I slept in my Queen Liz T-shirt to prepare. As I turned on the television, ready to watch history unfold, I felt like I was part of something bigger. Millions of people from all over the world lined the streets of England, hoping for a glance at the couple who would be titled the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. My eyes were glued to the screen. Meghan and Harry may have had a six month-long engagement, but we — the royal We — had been waiting for this moment for years. From the moment William and Kate were married. From the moment Diana was gone. From the moment Harry proposed and we realized Meghan would be the first woman of color to enter British monarchy (at least in a few hundred years). Their union represents so much hope in the future, with love placed at the center of that hope.

Celebrating with others is one of the most uplifting things we can do. Just attend any marathon, graduation, or wedding and sit back as you listen to the cheers. Strangers become friends, grudges are forgotten, and people in general have a GOOD-ASS TIME. This royal wedding was like all of these events combined, plus television cameras and celebrities. Harry won't be king, but his place in line — and in hearts — holds enough significance that his union with Meghan has buoyed the hearts of millions into hoping for the future. Meghan's demeanor, beliefs, and values have already begun to propel the monarchy into the 21st century. Together, they're a symbol of unity that the world desperately needed in 2018. And if that wasn't enough, they're bringing a new life into the world, expected spring 2019. God save the Duke, Duchess, and Baby of Sussex, forever a light in what can feel like a dark world." —Augusta Falletta

5. The Winter Olympics happened, and introduced us to some amazing athletes like Chloe Kim.

6. Adam Rippon became the first openly gay US male athlete to win a medal in a Winter Olympics.

7. And Mirai Nagasu became first American woman to land a triple axel in Olympic competition.

Bernat Armangue / AP

8. Speaking of sprots, Serena Williams came back to competition after her pregnancy, and did it with incredible style.

9. And even though Williams lost the US Open title, Naomi Osaka's win gave us a new woman athlete to watch.

10. We were introduced to Gritty, the lovably deranged-looking Philadelphia Flyers mascot.

Philadelphia Flyers / Via Twitter: @GrittyNHL

11. We got some heartwarming and utterly delightful movies, like Won't You Be My Neighbor? and Mamma Mia 2! Here We Go Again.

12. A Star Is Born premiered, and brought some excellent jokes along with it.

13. To All The Boys I've Loved Before brought worldwide attention to Lana Condor and Noah Centineo.

14. And Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians, and Ocean's 8 showed us that representation and Good Film can and do go hand in hand.

Marvel, Warner Bros. Pictures

15. Also, Awkwafina became a bona fide movie star, thanks to two of those movies.

16. The Queer Eye reboot premiered, giving us an incredible Fab 5 that unleashed a ton of joy and memes.

17. And Netflix also gave us the baking show fail fest otherwise known as Nailed It.

Netflix / Via giphy.com

18. Taylor Swift got political, and people paid attention.

instagram.com

"To put it simply, 2018 was the year many Taylor Swift stans (myself included) were waiting for. And it wasn’t just because we entered the year with a new album to bop to, or because we ended the year with the highest-grossing North American tour of all time (1,2,3, let’s go bitch INDEED), but because our queen finally gave us a taste of HER Tennessee values. Swift had previously refrained for sharing her political opinions, and was slammed after her continued silence during the 2016 election. But in 2018, Swift finally answered the prayers of many a Swiftie and came out swinging for the Democratic candidates in Tennessee’s midterm elections. She spoke about where candidates stood on LGBTQ rights, women’s equality, discrimination, and systemic racism, and she flooded her IG story with photos of her fans headed to the polls. Swifties enter 2019 knowing exactly where our country-turned-pop songstress stands, and excited for what lies ahead." —Emma Tyler

19. Gabrielle Union brought a baby into the world.

20. Hannah Gadsby's stand-up special Nanette shattered our expectations of what stand-up comedy is and should be.

21. And John Mulaney's Kid Gorgeous special provided an hour and four minutes of sheer joy and laughter.

Netflix

"I have a special place in my heart for John Mulaney. We’re both Chicago Irish Catholic, and both possess a loud, yet uncomfortable nerd energy. But my predilections aside, Kid Gorgeous (which hit Netflix in May 2018 of this year) provided a valuable service. 2018 was a tough year and we all NEEDED a laugh, but a solid, pure laugh was hard to come by. With the current state of *gestures broadly at everything*, no one could really agree on what deserved to be skewered on SNL and what was just still too tough to chuckle at. (Mulaney himself put it best when he said, “Building a gazebo during the Civil War would be like doing stand-up comedy now.”) But Kid Gorgeous was different. I dare you to find me one single human person who didn’t rock with laughter after watching Mulaney impersonate ex-Chicago cop and real-life cartoon character J.J. Bittenbinder by screaming 'STREET SMARTS!' in my hometown’s goofy accent. We couldn’t agree on a lot in 2018, but I think we can all agree on few, fundamental things. Like that Kid Gorgeous is amazing. Or that John Mulaney should host the Oscars. Or, maybe (just maybe!!!) that there shouldn’t be a horse in a hospital." —Emma Tyler

22. Brooklyn Nine-Nine was saved from cancelation by NBC.

23. After 34 years on air, Jeopardy! finally began streaming on Hulu and Netflix.

24. Blake Lively made us thirsty with her impeccable suit game.

Anthony Harvey / AFP / Getty Images, Rob Kim / Getty Images

"I can’t say that I have strong feelings about Blake Lively other than crediting her with part of my sexual awakening thanks to her role as sporty-femme Bridget Vreeland in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. But if there’s one way to get me to care about Blake Lively again, it’s by casting her in a movie where she does nothing but wear fabulous suits and swill martinis and eyefuck Anna Kendrick. I’m talking, of course, about A Simple Favor, which was a relentlessly ridiculous thriller-comedy that I’m not even going to bother to describe, because the movie isn’t really the point here.

The point is, while promoting A Simple Favor, Blake Lively decided to pay homage to her own character by wearing nothing but extremely colorful pantsuits for the duration of her press tour. It was a gift. A revelation. Because let’s be honest: Blake Lively is obviously very beautiful, but she’s miles more interesting when she’s exuding femme domme energy in waves and making you think, against all odds, 'Wow, Blake Lively can step on me.'" —Anna Borges

25. Beychella happened.

26. Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert blessed us with a highly entertaining Easter activity.

27. thank u, next and its music video had us all feeling fuckin' grateful for our exes.

28. And in general, Ariana Grande finally got the attention she deserves.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

"For veteran Arianators who’ve spent years spreading the gospel truth by explaining that no, she’s not a Starbucks order, yes, that donut thing was a thing, and ugh yes, she’s more than a cutesy ex-Nickelodeon star, there has been no purer high than watching Ariana Grande become fully coronated this year as pop princess and overall generational treasure.

And what a year it’s been: after laying low following last year’s terrorist attack on the Dangerous Woman tour (and then playing the gracious, grieving host during the One Love Manchester benefit concert), Ariana debuted her new single, 'no tears left to cry,' just as spring came around. We all thought it was supposed to be a sad song. Instead, it was transcendent.

But on September 7, the same day that Ariana got to dress up in a ballgown and film an hour-long BBC special in tribute to Manchester, news about Mac Miller’s death broke. The ugliest edges of the internet descended. Her engagement to Pete was shortly called off. In turn, she shocked us with a new instant anthem that was as fun as it was compassionate, and none of us in the post-”thank u, next” era have ever be the same.

As Ariana accepted Billboard’s Woman Of The Year Award for 2018, both old and new fans didn’t know whether to laugh or sob as she resolutely quipped, 'Ew, I’m not going to cry.' She still wasn’t done surprising us. I hope she never is." —Delia Cai

29. Fake heiress Anna Delvey ushered in a summer of scam.

30. We all wondered what a pigeon really looks like.

31. Lena Waithe stood out from the other incredible Met Gala looks by wearing this.

Hector Retamal / AFP / Getty Images

32. We met Missy Elliott's Funky White Sister.

33. And the Wal-Mart yodeling kid.

34. ASMR YouTuber LifeWithMak became an overall internet queen.

instagram.com

"2018 was a pretty trash year, but we did get something fabulous from it — Queen of ASMR, LifeWithMaK. MaK's a 13-year-old YouTuber who's adorable, creative, and funny as heck. MaK's channel focuses on positivity and relaxation, through the use of ASMR (which is essentially the tingling sensation people feel when exposed to a certain stimulus, such as whispers or tapping). She's the saving grace of an Internet world that's so full of hate. I highly recommend watching her Sassy Flight Attendant video, it's a classic and is v meme-able!" —Nichole Francois

35. Heidi Klum wore maybe her most iconic Halloween costume yet.

36. We chilled out with a lot of CBD products.

37. Instagram rolled out a mute feature, which saved our timelines and stories.

Instagram

"2018 was kind of a wild ride for my mental health, and it took me a while to realize that what I was seeing on social media had A LOT to do with that. Once the Instagram mute feature was introduced, I immediately took full advantage of it. Sometimes, what your friends and followers post online can be really triggering to whatever you’re going through at the moment, and the mute feature really helps with censoring what I choose and choose not to see. It’s also helped to mute certain news outlets as well. With so much going on in the world, having things 'out of sight, out of mind' has really helped my anxiety. Everyone should use this feature. Now." —Chris Pena

38. Kendrick Lamar rightfully, and amazingly, won a Pulitzer Prize.

39. The Thai soccer team was rescued from a cave.

Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP / Getty Images

40. The world finally said "enough" to plastic straws, and "we're here for you" to turtles.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

"In December 2017, I wrote a post about ways to create less trash in the new year. I'd written about cutting down on plastic and being less wasteful in the past, but the reaction to this post felt different — it was obvious that people were ready to make a change. It was around this time that a truly horrific video of a turtle with a plastic straw lodged inside its nose resurfaced, and finally got people's attention. This time last year, I only had one friend who carried a reusable straw, now countless friends drink from them at their desks, take them to bars, and have them on heavy rotation in their homes. The plastic straw revolution is about more than turtles — it's about people recognizing that changing their habits and routines really does make a difference, whether it's to marine life, or the entire planet. People care a LOT and actions speak louder than words — unless of course, those words are are a big, 'no straw, thanks!' in a restaurant." —Gyan Yankovich

41. The James Beard awards honored an impressive number of women and minorities.

Chance Yeh

"This year has been exhausting for everyone, especially restaurant folks. With everything that has been going on this year (from chefs being rightfully called out for their bad behavior, to saddening restaurant closures) it's easy to forget about the triumphs the industry has witnessed in 2018 — especially when it came to inclusiveness.

For starters, a female chef in America received three Michelin stars this year, the absolute highest honor a chef/restaurant can receive. This is long overdue, as Dominique Crenn and Emma Bengtsson were the only two female chefs in the United States to hold two stars each — and zero female chefs held three.

This year's James Beard awards — an organization that has been criticized for their lack of diversity —also highlighted the most diverse group of talent ever. This is partly in response to an updated diversity policy recently put into place — something that will help make sure there is a spot at the table for everyone. In total, this year's James Beard awards recognized 15 chefs, with 11 of them being minority chefs.

This is not to say that 2018 has fixed the restaurant industry, but it was a year that showed promise. Media outlets brought attention to trans chefs, Latinx chefs, and a plethora of long overlooked communities who make the food world so delicious. After this year, I have faith that the industry might finally catch up and showcase the right people." —Jesse Szewczyk

42. Jared Polis became the first openly gay person elected governor in the US.

43. Women candidates won a historic number of elections during the midterms.

44. And Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez became the end-all-be-all of squad goals.

45. Beto O'Rourke mobilized hundreds of thousands of voters in Texas.

46. And Stacey Abrams inspired hope in many in Georgia.

47. Kim Davis lost her election for Kentucky clerk.

Drew Anthony Smith / Getty Images

48. Following the murder of her son Jordan Davis, Lucy McBath successfully ran for a US House of Representatives seat in Georgia.

49. And Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland became the first Native American women elected to congress.

50. Emma Gonzalez and her fellow Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students turned a school shooting into a nationwide movement for gun control.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

51. Ireland ended its abortion ban.

52. Tammy Duckworth made history as the first US senator to give birth while in office.

53. New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Arden brought her newborn baby to the UN.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

54. And India decriminalized gay sex, which is already inspiring other countries to follow suit.

REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa

"The moment of progress from 2018 that stands out in my mind is India’s Supreme Court striking down a 157-year-old colonial-era law that criminalized gay sex as 'against the order of nature.' The judges ruled that freedom could only be fulfilled where the LGBT community has equal rights.

I can't even wrap my head around a victory as huge as this one (there are more than a billion people in India!). After one of the biggest and longest-running fights for gay rights the world has seen, millions and millions of queer citizens can now live free. Not only that, but this landmark ruling could have an enormous impact on LGBT rights battles happening throughout the Commonwealth (the 53 countries made up mostly of former territories of the British Empire), like in Singapore, where the same law is now being challenged. So, yes, 2018 may have been a raging trash fire, but when I think about all of the photos of people smiling, crying, and celebrating on the day India affirmed LGBT rights, it burns a little bit less." —Tom Vellner

Let's make 2019 the best one yet, y'all!