By now, it should be clear that our lives are forever changed. A return to normalcy — however that can be defined, now – is not possible. Covid-19 and its variants have changed society, its interactions, its character and ability to respond, in ways which will never allow for a “return” to who we once were. As each year advances and passes, as 2019 turned into 2020, 2020 into 2021 — and, now, with the dawn of the year 2022, our expectations and hopes keep changing and adapting.
The bright side is that our species has always been an adaptable one; otherwise, we would not be where we are today. On the dark side, this ongoing pandemic has revealed the fissures of our global economy — the inadequacy of our healthcare system to handle this crisis; the divisions within our society which are deep and irreconcilable; the political stalemate which reflects our country’s past historical evils which have never been faced or properly debated and resolved; and the growing division between the privileged and the underclass, both in terms of wealth as well as by education.
2022 will be a revealing year — with midterm elections foreboding, a pandemic which will further test our economic and political stability, and a populace fatigued by it all: a year when the character of our nation will be tested as never before. As we enter into this new year, there are many “negatives” to note; but the one positive which we should all focus upon, is that despite all of the divisions and differences, the yearning for a return to families getting together, celebrating the Holidays and needing to meet that basic human desire — of actual human contact as opposed to a virtual encouner via computers and smartphones — remains unextinguished and magnified in exponential measures of human satisfaction.
In the end, it is the simple act of a hug which will get us beyond the misery of these past few years.
Happy New Year, 2022 — may we all be able to fulfill that basic yearning of a return to normalcy, by the simple gesture of a warm hug to welcome the new year.
Robert R. McGill