Enter 2022 boldly

Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, January 11, 2022

By Nathan Rice

The last few years have been difficult, and the start of this year has many people throwing up their hands in despair. At the beginning of the year, a popular post on social media pointed out that 2022 can be pronounced as 2020, too. I guess hopes for a better year aren’t too high.

The hesitation to embrace 2022 is understandable. It hasn’t even been two full weeks into the new year, but it doesn’t seem that things are getting much better. COVID numbers are high, inflation is growing, and businesses are still struggling to staff their locations. Many people seem on edge, fighting over nearly everything, and the political strife from the past few years certainly hasn’t calmed down.

It has been challenging, and entering a new year with so much uncertainty can be difficult. It can be hard to enter this new year with a fresh hope, but I have a few ideas that might help.

We can begin by grieving what was lost over the past few years. Things have been moving so quickly, and it doesn’t seem that many of us have stopped to process what has happened or allowed ourselves to grieve. It’s hard to move forward into a new phase of our own lives and of our nation if we haven’t processed and grieved what was lost. It’s OK to pause to allow ourselves to heal.

Next, we can take the time to appreciate and focus on all that remains. It seems that the past few years have taken something from everyone, but they haven’t taken everything. It’s easy to stay focused on all that has been lost in the past two years, but shifting our minds to the good things that are still around us can help us move forward.

Being grateful for the good things that are still in our lives doesn’t mean that we can’t be sad about what was lost. It’s possible to be grieving and grateful. A change of focus only means that we will not let what was lost keep us from appreciating and enjoying what remains.

We can also be proud of ourselves for making it through these difficult times and of our work during these times. The last two years were extremely different than we anticipated, and many of us worked hard in uncharted territory. Those who have done their best to keep moving forward while helping others who were struggling should hold their heads up high.

Lastly, we can continue the work to make the world a brighter place. We may never be going back to the way things were in early 2020, but that doesn’t mean that everything has changed. Love hasn’t changed. Hope still exists. Peace is still worth pursuing, and grace is still needed.

It has been tough, but we shouldn’t enter 2022 timidly. Let’s enter it boldly, grateful for what has remained and determined to make this year better than the last two years, no matter what is thrown our way.

Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at nrice@abnb.org.