With 2021 having wrapped up last week, I cannot help but reflect on the past twelve months – – – the highs, the too many lows, the surreal – – and think about what I want in the upcoming year, albeit cautiously.

Never one to believe in new year’s resolutions since I find them a recipe for negative feelings if I slip-up, I *sometimes* set goals for myself, usually business-related (e.g. develop a new presentation for parents) with the occasional fitness ambition or health goal (e.g. drink more water; get more sleep) and hobby aspiration (e.g. beautify the garden) thrown in for good measure. After the last 22 months, I find myself thinking about goals in completely different terms altogether. And that is not only okay; I recommend it for emotional preservation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted each and every one of us to varying degrees, from feeling inconvenienced to suffering from burnout to dealing with ongoing grief. Not a single person has been spared. And the short-term prognosis does not look good with a highly contagious variant spreading rapidly at this very moment. We find ourselves beyond exhausted from the ongoing mental calculations that accompany the risk assessment for every move we make. Each day can feel like a slog. And that may be an understatement.

So this year, for now, I give myself permission to look at the upcoming year through a different lens. The bar is lowered, and my goal is to do the best I can to stay healthy and support my family and friends in doing the same. For 2022, I strive to:

  • Remain flexible; things change so rapidly that I must remain open and adaptable or risk repeated frustration and disappointment
  • Stay connected: I might not be able to share in person visits with all the people I want to, but staying in touch through video calls, emails, and frequent texts feels pretty good
  • Take nothing for granted: this was reinforced when I was bedbound for 24 hours with a bad case of vertigo. I found myself bargaining with the universe to make it go away. Talk about having a newfound appreciation for every little thing after it lifted- from the ability to drink water (and have an unlimited supply) to being able to take my dog for a walk
  • Take no one for granted: the losses experienced by people in my inner circle are a stark reminder that life is finite and I want to ensure the relationships with the people I love are the best they can be RIGHT NOW
  • Celebrate tiny moments: a shower, a good read, a walk around the block, a trip down memory lane triggered by a song
  • Allow myself grace whenever and wherever I feel I am not as productive as I typically like to be
  • Ask for help, a hug, a listening ear when I need it

I put the words out there to keep myself accountable and to encourage others to explore what “lighter” goals might be your focus in 2022.

Happy, gentle new year!