It’s been a long year, and that’s good, because that means time isn’t slipping away from me. But this year has been hard on me. It’s been hard on a lot of people. But I’m here. I’m alive.

I can’t say that about a lot of celebrities – David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Nancy Reagan, Garry Shandling, Doris Roberts, Prince, Mohamed Ali, Gary Marshall, Gene Wilder, Arnold Palmer, Florence Henderson, John Glenn, Alan Thicke, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and George Michael (to name a few) all died this year. Carrie Fisher was the latest. It’s been 20 hours since I last cried. I wore my Star Wars shirt to work today, and I’m going to wear my other Star Wars shirt tomorrow, and then I’m going to wear my third Star Wars shirt on Friday. And with any luck, I’ll go see Rogue One on Saturday.

I always had a crush on Princess Leia. I thought she was the prettiest princess there ever was. She was “one of the boys,” which tugged on my tomboy heart. She was strong, and I wanted to be like her. Now Carrie Fisher is gone – drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra. She will be missed by so many. This just in: Debbie Reynolds has been taken to the hospital. STOP, 2016, just stop. You’ve taken too many lives already. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?? WHO ELSE DO YOU NEED TO TAKE? (Edit: apparently 2016 needed Debbie Reynolds too. She died tonight.)

When people die, I evaluate my own life, reminding myself not to waste my days.

I should live my life the way I feel I should live it. Elizabeth and I are married now – the best thing to happen to us this year. We are living our lives together, finally married. It feels incredible. It feels right. The happiness is overwhelming.

I knew when I met Liz that I would marry her. I didn’t share that with a lot of people, because I wasn’t exactly “out” at the time. But I knew I loved her and that we would have a great life together. We’ve been married for 18 days.

People will tell us A and B, go here…not there, say this but not that, be different…but not like that. Do you know how confusing that is? They’ll say, “Be you, but only if you do it like this.” No, thanks. I’m tired of not living how I want to live. Everyone is different, obviously. I am who I am because of who I was and who I want to be. Damn, that sounds cheesy. But it’s true!

You see, it’s not just my wife and me. Our life consists of the people around us, the ones who support us, and the ones who love us. So we live with them and around them. There are other people in our life – our family and our friends. I respect them. I respect their lives they have created with their own family and friends. If they aren’t hurting themselves or anyone’s well-being, then they are fine. Sure, I’m not always 100% pleased with everyone I meet (who is?), but as long as they aren’t stabbing people in the street or cursing some old lady at Target, I think that whatever they do is their own business.

Because when it comes right down to it: when I die, it’s my death, and while I’m living, it’s my life. No one is living it for me, and no one is dying it for me.