There's little doubt that this was a stressful year in a lot of ways. Between the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the death of Robin Williams, the rise of ISIL in the Middle East (out of the ongoing quagmire that is the Syrian Civil War), racism and police abuse in Ferguson (with similar incidents elsewhere), the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, and any number of other horrible things that happened in 2014, it's been a pretty stressful time for a lot of us. But it wasn't all bad was it? What things will you remember fondly in retrospect?
Speaking for myself, even if in a lot of ways society has sucked this year it's at least been a good year for popular entertainment. I feel Hollywood's output this year was (with a few exceptions) generally better than what it released last year. Days of Future Past and The Winter Soldier are two of the best superhero films to be released period and Guardians of the Galaxy and Edge of Tomorrow were both pretty good as well (I also enjoyed Interstellar even if some did not). Sure, there were a few stinkers and disappointments, but on the whole I agree with CJA's assessment (made pretty early in the year) that this year's entertainment was a level above last year's.
The same goes for other media: I haven't played that many video games this year, but Dragon Age: Inquisition (which I received as a Yule gift earlier this month) is shaping up to be one of the best RPGs I've ever played (which to be honest, I wasn't really expecting) and I've also been really enjoying my playthrough of the original Steins;Gate game (which was released in North America for the first time earlier this spring), which has added a lot of context and insight into its excellent animated adaptation, which remains one of the very best time travel stories I've ever read, seen, or heard.
It's also been a good year for TV in a lot of ways. After feeling that Game of Thrones might have been losing its way last year, Season 4 has restored a lot of my faith in the series (even if I still prefer the books). And both Defiance and Agents of SHIELD, which had their fare share of problems last year, have improved dramatically. And True Detective may be one of the best TV series I've ever seen.
Going beyond entertainment, I'll also fondly remember that India became the first non-American, non-Russian, and non-European country to deploy a spacecraft to another planet (Mars) successfully (on their first try even, which is better than we managed). It's also good to know that U.S. unemployment has finally dropped below recession levels. And while the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has been truly terrifying and awful, it was a great relief (and surprise to many) that Nigeria was able to shut it down within about two months, with just 20 cases and 8 deaths.
On a personal level, while this year has been stressful in a lot of ways, I've finally graduated from college and am now working regularly (part-time, admittedly, but it works at the moment). I've also gotten myself insured and have developed a lot of new connections and I had a pretty good time working for some local political campaigns during the summer and autumn. Also, I'll admit it's been flattering to see my public profile raised on the internet, particularly on io9 and Tumblr where several of my posts have gotten a rather remarkable amount of attention (though admittedly not for lack of trying in a few cases).
So what about you? What will you remember fondly this year? What will you cherish?