This is not our usual ‘New Year’ celebration, is it? We are now two full years into this relentless pandemic. We are, as Americans, at each other’s throats every single day over concepts both serious and stupid. Should we work to protect the rights of all voters to express themselves in each election? Should we push back against the biases we see in our media outlets? Do we really have to wear masks in the grocery store? Why do I need to get a vaccination if I’m not likely to die from this disease?
This year we find ourselves facing a New Year’s Eve that is fraught with anger, with frustration, with fear, with sorrow.
For me, and my immediate family, this is the year without our parents. This is our first look into a future with neither Mom nor Dad. A year in which we feel unbalanced, unanchored, adrift.
I want to write the usual hopes for the upcoming year and the usual funny looks back on the mistakes and mix-ups of last year.
But I can’t.
This year, I find that I am simply blank. There are too few thoughts in this weary head.
As I watch the waning days of 2021, all I feel is resignation.
I am resigned to the fact that more and more people are going to get sick in the next few weeks. I’m resigned to the realization that our country, and humanity as a whole, has completely mismanaged the enormous challenge of our global pandemic. Even though we KNOW that viruses cross borders, that viruses do not care what languages we speak or which gods we honor, even though we KNOW that every human on this little planet is at risk, we have still failed to look out for each other.
We have vaccines, but we aren’t going to share them because…..money.
My disappointment in the human race is profound.
I am resigned to the fact that the country in which I live is headed off a cliff, and that there is nothing in the world I can do to make it better.
Politicians will continue to yell and scream about nothing. People will continue to insist that they are on the “good” team. Temperatures will rise, storms will rage, glaciers will melt.
I’m usually able to summon up at least a modicum of hopefulness; I am a woman who surrounds herself with children, and that in itself is usually enough to keep me optimistic.
But as we come up on the first anniversary of our near insurrection, I read that our government is “weighing the possibility of seeking criminal charges”. And I realize that none of this theater is actually about stopping us from charging off that cliff. It’s about stringing things out until we get close enough to the famous “midterms” to impact the way we feel, and the way we will vote. It’s about liars, cheaters and traitors trying to wiggle out of the responsibility they have for what happened, and about those who are supposed to be holding them accountable finding the most politically expedient way to do that.
As our children are about to head back into schools that are literal petri dishes of infection, with no actual plan in place to keep anyone safe, I am aware that as a society we are happy to sacrifice our youngest children and their teachers so that the factories can keep churning out the endless piles of junk that we all so enjoy ordering online.
I have no uplifting, hopeful, empowering thoughts for next year.
I am blank. I am bereft. I am as empty as any candidate’s promise to save us.
I wish you a 2022 of abject boredom, in which nothing remotely dangerous or scary happens to you or to anyone you love. I wish you a year empty of new variants, devoid of new mask recommendations, extra boosters, or anything involving the word “antibodies”.
May your greatest surprise in 2022 come in the form of an unexpected blossom on a plant you thought you’d lost. May your biggest challenge be trying to remember the name of that wonderful teacher from elementary school.
I wish you peace. I wish you rest. I wish you at least one fabulously delicious meal shared with people who make you laugh out loud.
Most of all, dear friends, my New Year’s wish for all of us is that one year from now we find ourselves saying, “Well, that was certainly an improvement.”
Happy, healthy 2022 to everyone on planet earth.