New Year’s things to ponder as we tiptoe carefully into 2022.

Photo by Juliana Arruda on Unsplash

I don’t think any of us are the same as we were a couple short years ago. How could we stay the same when everything around us changed so swiftly and completely? To say that the past two years of our lives have been traumatic would be an understatement. We’ve seen so much shit, I don’t even want to try to list all the death, destruction, corruption, disinformation, disharmony and dysfunction we’ve seen in the headlines.

Americans don’t know who to trust anymore. We can’t trust the right or the left, or the government at all, really. We can’t trust our healthcare system, or any other fallible system created and operated by imperfect humans with all of our flaws and limitations, greed and self-interest. We can’t trust religion, or each other or even the companies we give our blood, sweat, tears and dollars to.

Our trust issues are deeply rooted, as we’ve watched people, corporations and even our elected officials choose dollars over human life over and over and over again. I’m pretty sure guns now have more protections under the law than my uterus or the children she brought forth into this world. How can we possibly trust a system that so obviously favors money over human life? Dignity? Equality?

Companies are reporting record profits while also laying off their workforce in record numbers. School shootings are back in the headlines, as are the climbing Covid cases and buckling hospital systems that have been pushed past their breaking points. Don’t even get me started on our public schools and our poor teachers. Everywhere we look in America today, something is broken, someone is hurting or hungry, there is an injustice with an embarrassingly simple solution no one is willing to implement, and our government officials are fighting with each other instead of fixing everything that is wrong with this shithole country.

It’s rough out there. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. Tired of the bad news every day. Tired of feeling like nothing we do is going to make a difference. Tired of watching things fall apart. Tired of the obvious inequities we overlook and explain away. Tired of being caught in the middle of a two-party system that doesn’t even begin to represent me or anything that matters to me.

This year, I’m taking my power back from all the bad news in the headlines. I’m pulling my energy back from all the world’s problems so I can focus it on the things I can control. I’m going to see the good in this world every day – in my husband’s embrace, my children’s faces, my squishy cats and all the things we enjoy. I’m reimaging our post-pandemic lives to be peaceful, prosperous and fun again.

2020 and all the bullshit that followed changed us at the individual level and as a society. I’ve found myself wishing to return to things as they were before the pandemic and the attack of the tangerine ego monster, but I know that isn’t possible. These events and people are bringing to light the gross truths we’ve been sweeping under our star spangled rug for something like 400 years. As painful as this process is, it’s long overdue. I have to believe that things fall apart so we can build them up better than they were before.

I can’t control what’s going on out there. As much as I wish I could wave a magic wand and say a few pretty words to make all the pain and suffering of the world go away, it’s not within my human limitations to do so. But, I can make a difference here today for the people around me. I can be kind. I can offer support in ways that are possible for me to do so without stretching myself too thin. I can choose to focus on the good stuff instead of doom scrolling and letting myself spiral into another existential crisis. Turns out, there’s always good stuff if we’re willing to pull ourselves away from the slow-motion train wreck out there to look for it in here.

I will not let the chaos of the world distract me from living my best life. This is the year I begin healing from 2020 and everything we lost that year. This is the year I begin investing in myself again and taking care of myself and my family even if everything burns down around us. This is the year we break out of our fear of the future and decide to make it exactly what we want it to be. We can’t control the world, but we can still make our own dreams come true. We can decide to be happy and healthy no matter what is going on out there.

I hope you fight the urge to look back on 2021 and wish you had accomplished more. I hope you refuse to make resolutions because you feel like you have to. I hope you give yourself credit for surviving some really hard shit and see how much you’ve grown and changed through life’s challenges. 2021 was a year of feeling around in the dark for a new way forward. Here’s to finding the switch that illuminates a new, prosperous path for 2022.

You are Important. Your life matters. People care about you – even some you’ve never met. Please, take good care of yourself.

xo Renee