We all remember how we felt going into 2021, thinking absolutely nothing could top the chaos of 2020. The start of the global pandemic. Tiger King. A new addiction to Tik Tok. And the slither of hope as the vaccine was developed and its distribution began.
But, 2021 didn’t shy away from the challenge, it’s New Year's Resolution must’ve been to outdo its predecessor. This year, 8.74 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered globally, Harry and Meghan spilled the tea with Oprah like we were watching a live season of The Crown, and teal tracksuits became the most popular Halloween costume because of Squid Game. Oh, and some billionaire went to space, no doubt planning how to colonise another planet.
2021 was a collective emotional rollercoaster that so far, no one has quite figured out how to get off. When we thought it couldn’t get worse, many countries suffered devastating second waves. But when we thought it couldn’t get better, we saw the efforts of collective action, organising and human altruism. For a moment, we stopped eye-rolling at the constant forwarding of Whatsapp messages between aunties and uncles, because it came in handy as resources and donation links were passed along between countries, families, and networks. As we were taken up and down the peaks and troughs of the rollercoaster ride, our eyes watery and our vision for what’s coming next totally blurred, we at least metaphorically held each other's hands.
It’s felt as if the last two years have blended into one another, and there’s been a lack of separation between them because we’re now defining our years by the “pandemic era”. And it's scary that we don’t know how many years to come we’ll be adding into this era. 2022 might be more of the same blur. But one thing we have learnt is how to navigate it, how to give ourselves a tiny bit of control back. How to make sense of new events, new variants, new challenges. And so, we’re back with another installment of TLP’s Questions for a New Year. Because when we feel like we still have no idea where we’re going, it’s worth thinking about the times where we’ve realised that, despite what it feels like, it isn’t the end of the world.
1) What are three challenges, internal or external, that you’ve overcome this year?
2) What new relationships have you formed that will continue into 2022?
3) What is one thing you’re grateful for in the past 365 days?
We ask about the challenges because we know that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, burnt out, or just not up to the task of pandemic life, but it’s worth recognising our own resilience. Those challenges don’t have to be big in the grand scheme of things, sometimes it can be just getting out of bed. Sometimes the most simple things can be the hardest, so give yourself a pat on the back for all the little things as well as the big.
We ask about new relationships, because we’ve all experienced so much loss. Loss is an all-consuming feeling, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t grow. We may have spent a large chunk of time confined to our homes, isolated, or speaking through screens, but human connection transcends those boundaries. As we’ve been forced to find new ways of connection and interaction, we’ve created new spaces for meeting new people and forming new relationships. Ones that can withstand the test of time, exist digitally or physically, and remain stronger than our wifis on Zoom.
And finally, we ask for just one thing to be grateful for, to encourage you to find a light in all the darkness. Even if it's a small light, a flicker of a flame. Through the trials, tribulations and tears, finding one thing good means that going forward, you can count on finding another thing this year too. Or more than one thing, there’s no limit to this. And when you think about the things, or people, or memories you are grateful for, someone else might be thinking of you.
As always, we aren’t testing you or taking notes. You can take them for yourself if you want to, on a piece of paper, or mentally, or through texts with a friend. Or not. You can reflect on them, and then put the thoughts away in a box to revisit another time. But know that when you’ve thought about it, you can go into 2022 more accepting than before. You can be less afraid of the blur, and more confident within yourself that you can find your way through. And we’ll probably bump into you somewhere on the rollercoaster ride.
Wishing each of you a very Happy New Year from all of us,
The TLP Team