I took a walk with my family last New Year’s Day. Like much of the country at that point, we had been home throughout the holiday season, and walks were our daily outlet (even if it meant screaming at kids half the time). On that crispy-cold day, I remember looking up at over the water and saying a silent prayer: Please be kind to us, 2021.
Well, we all know how that goes. One insurrection and an ongoing pandemic later, here we are again: a new year, 2022. Except, we aren’t even close to being in the same space as we were when a new year dawned a year ago. We have vaccines — if people would just f***ing get them — and we have so many more tools at our fingertips.
The daily risk assessment and mitigation have rendered all us parents all numb, though I’m lucky that my kids are old enough to be vaccinated (and my husband and I are boosted). I feel a lot less broken than I did a year ago because of that. Last year I was angry and sad and depressed. I’m still that way, but with less of an edge. Going on three years of being angry doesn’t suit humans.
So while yes, we have reason for hope, and, at least where I live, the subtle, unspoken societal promise to do the right thing, I start this new year knowing that there’s still so much work and emotional toil and mental anxiety to come. While that doesn’t give me a sense of peace in any way, I know that I’ll need to grant myself and those I love as much grace as I can muster three years in.
I won’t be so naive as to say a new year’s prayer this year, but I do believe in putting good thoughts out into the world nevertheless.
So here’s my good thought, 2022: Don’t make us hate you, too.
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