Keep Calm and Carry On - © British Ministry of Information

Happy New Year: What Can We Expect In 2022?

I’ve touched on official expectations for the future in a number of recent posts. And they have generally been dark. What can we, as individuals, do to make the new year better for ourselves and those we love? Some elders of the tribe counsel a stoic philosophy: ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’…

Winston Churchill - © Karsh of OttawaPerhaps the most famous photo of Winston Churchill: Taken
by world-famous photographer Yousuf Karsh at a conference
of Allied leaders in
Ottawa, during the Second World War.

We are now officially into 2022 – the year 3 CE – COVID Era. And thanks to the rapid onset of the Omicron variant this past fall, we’re embarking on a new campaign in the war against an enemy we can’t see, hear smell or taste – but is deadly, nonetheless. Let me revise that statement a little: Omicron is only deadly to those who haven’t prepared themselves for it. Those who have two vaccine shots are still protected to some degree. They can expect to avoid serious illness if they do get the new variant. A third, booster shot is recommended for everyone above the age of 5, and it sounds like a good idea to me (in spite of the fact that we haven’t ramped up boosters here in Canada, yet). And COVID will effect everything we do and plan to do over the next 12 months.

Taking a grim toll

Omicron has been the straw that broke the camel’s back for many health workers. They’ve been fighting COVID on the front lines for what to them must seem like forever. And, just when they think their heroic efforts have COVID on the run, a new variant roars up setting new-case records and once again jamming hospitals to bursting. This week, the Washington Post carried the story of a respiratory technologist who committed suicide. “We can’t save them,” he told a friend. “All we do is bag ’em and tag ’em.”

The numbers tell the tale

Results of a year-end poll of Americans, released yesterday on the CNN breakfast show revealed:

  • Only 43 percent of those asked said they make resolutions on New Years Eve.
  • Only 68 percent of those reported they keep their New Year’s resolutions ‘at least partially’.
  • ‘Exercise more’ came in first on the Top Ten list of resolutions, followed by…
  • ‘Eat healthier’, hot on its heels in second place.

When asked if they thought 2022 would be better than 2021, only 26 percent said. ‘Yes’, 24 percent said they thought things would stay the same, and 48 percent said ‘No’.

What can we do?

Food prices are set to rise even more in 2022 than they did last year. Our choices at the grocery store will remain restricted, due to the effects of COVID on the collective psyche of the workforce. Masks and other anti-pandemic protocols will continue their slow erosion of our already weakening patience.

But we must not let the relentless persistence of COVID grind us down.

My mom, at 97, remembers the Second World War. And she says the COVID crisis is no less a war, with the whole world involved, again. She’s fond of quoting that Churchillian commandment about carrying on, as well as Franklin Roosevelt’s admonition to Americans, in his declaration of war on Japan, that, ‘There is nothing to fear but fear, itself!” We may consider ourselves more savvy and sophisticated than that in the 21st Century. But the message and the spirit behind it are just as valid now as they were 80 years ago.

As my late Dad (a tank crewman ‘on the sharp end’ in Europe in WWII) used to say, “How we handle this thing is going to show us what kind of people we really are.”

I, for one, intend to make him proud.

~ Maggie J.