CNN  — 

We know you want 2019 canceled, reported and blocked. You think it was awful, depressing and went on far too long. But — and hear us out here — it wasn’t ALL that bad. To end things on a great note, here’s a list of some of the good things that happened this year.

The world

The Indian Navy welcomed its first-ever woman pilot • People around the world united to save a 2-year-old’s life • Austria named its first female chancellor • The European Commission elected its first female President • Women now lead five of the major parties in Finland’s parliament • For the first time, all major pageants were won by women of color • Macedonia was renamed, bringing an end to a decades-long dispute with Greece • President Donald Trump made history as the first sitting US leader to set foot in North Korea • Pope Francis became the first pontiff to visit an Arab Gulf state

The US

The 116th Congress became the most diverse in US history • Chicago elected its first African-American female mayor • Animal cruelty is officially a federal felony • California is now the first state to offer health insurance to some undocumented immigrants • Montgomery, Alabama, elected its first black mayor in 200 years • New York banned the so-called gay and trans “panic” defense • The largest mass commutation in US history took place • The White House honored a military dog for raid on ISIS leader • The Little Shell Tribe became the newest Native American tribe to receive federal recognition

Human rights

Indonesia raised minimum age for brides to end child marriage • Saudi Arabian women are finally allowed to travel independently • Taiwan became the first place in Asia to pass a same-sex marriage legislation • Botswana ruled to decriminalize consensual same-sex relationsNorthern Ireland legalized same-sex marriage • Ecuador joined neighboring countries in legalizing same-sex marriage Iranian women were officially allowed to attend a soccer match for the first time in 40 years

The environment

Iguanas were reintroduced to Galápagos island after 184 years • More places are banning single-use plastics • Humpback whales recovered from near-extinction in the South Atlantic • A tortoise believed to be extinct was found after 100 years • NASA said the planet is greener today than it was 20 years ago • A rare black leopard was spotted for the first time in nearly 100 years • An albino panda was photographed in the wild, for the first time • Scientists discovered 71 new species this year • Veterinarians harvested eggs from the world’s last two northern white rhinos to help save the species • Canada passed a bill banning whale and dolphin captivity

Health and science

Scientists may be able to spot Alzheimer’s 16 years before symptoms begin • The World Health Organization stopped classifying transgender people as mentally ill • Malaria was eliminated from Algeria and Argentina • Two men may have been cured of HIV • A woman with two wombs gave birth twice in less than a month A woman became the first living HIV-positive kidney donor in the world • A new species related to humans was discovered • Africa marked a significant milestone in the quest to eradicate polio • Karen Uhlenbeck became the first woman to win mathematics’ most prestigious prize • Emma Haruka Iwao broke the world record for calculating pi


We got to see the world’s first close-range image of the far side of the moon • The Antarctic ozone hole was the smallest on record since its discovery • NASA completed its first all-female astronaut spacewalk • We captured the first-ever photo of a black hole • Water was detected for first time on planet outside our solar system


The Toronto Raptors delivered Canada its first NBA title • The Washington Nationals finally won a World Series title • NCAA athletes are now allowed to profit from their name, image and likeness • Li Na became the first Asian player to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame • LeBron James topped Michael Jordan on the NBA all-time scoring list • The US women’s soccer team claimed its fourth Women’s World Cup title Simone Biles became the most decorated gymnast in history • Halima Aden became the first model to wear a hijab and a burkini in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue • Eliud Kipchoge became the first athlete to run a marathon in less than two hours • Drew Brees broke the NFL record for all-time passing touchdowns • James Harden is now the first player in NBA history to record back-to-back 50-point games with more than 10 three-pointers


Aretha Franklin became the first woman to win a Pulitzer special award and citation • More than 50,000 books, films, songs and other artwork from 1923 became public domain • “Sesame Street” announced the launch of a new show to help refugee children • Missy Elliott became the first female hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame • “This Is America” became the first rap song to win Grammys for song and record of the year • Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II published her first post on Instagram • BTS became the first K-Pop band to address the UN • The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had their first child