As the infamous ball drops at midnight on New Year’s Eve in Times Square in New York City, we’ll usher in 2015 with hopes of a fresh start for some, and for others it’s a chance to get together with loved ones to celebrate the year’s past. We’ll attend parties and sip our champagne, kiss each other and shout “Happy New Year!” to everyone we see.

But let’s not put 2014 behind us too quickly. Let’s take a moment to give homage to a year that gave same sex couples the right to marry in several states, opening the door for gay rights virtually everywhere. Just as the fight for women’s rights and equal rights took decades, this fight is finally being won.

2014 was also a very sad year as we said goodbye to many talented actors and performers. We lost the incredibly talented actor, Philip Seymore Hoffman, known for his performance as Truman Capote in Capote, and Father Flynn in the critically acclaimed film, Doubt. We also lost legendary comedians and forever funnypeople Robin Williams and Joan Rivers. It is definitely the end of an era knowing that these beautiful performers will never grace us again with their presence on stage. They may be gone, but they will never be forgotten, having left a huge impact on Hollywood and the entertainment industry.

On the brighter side of 2014, Twelve Years a Slave won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and a movie about developing an intimate relationship with a mobile phone operating system, Her, was also nominated for Best Picture. We saw gas prices at a record low since the Clinton Administration. The US was actually a contender in the FIFA World Cup tournament for the first time in decades. A new drug for treating Hepatitis C was introduced, claiming a 90-95% success rate. The Lima Accord was recently signed, which is an agreement where approximately 200 countries promise to cut back on fossil fuel emissions that are said to be the cause of global warming.

As we bring in 2015, let’s not necessarily put 2014 in the past, but learn from it, and continue to bring positive changes to the world.