Looking Back, Moving Forward: Reflections as we move into 2022


In the days, even weeks, leading up to New Years Eve, all I saw were posts and texts about how excited everyone was to leave 2021 in the past. Countless ‘New year, new me’ tweets and that one photo of the girl stepping up stairs away from the mess of labeled boxes with a big bag over her shoulder that’s used every year flooded my screens, as if demanding me to join the world in anxiously counting down the days until we could put the year behind us. 

This past year always seemed to me like one of those MadLibs I used to do as a kid- it would be going relatively fine until something outrageous was penciled in over the “verb” box. We started the year with five whole days of relative normalcy until ‘Capitol riot’ was jotted down and from then on, 2021 was all about the unexpected. Egregious could be put in the ‘adjective’ box to go with a large chunk of the important events of the year, just as incredible could for another chunk. What I am trying to say is that the year was crazy, throwing punches left and right on top of a pandemic we were already hurt by. 

As I look back on the events of the year, I recognize how full it was of negativity and hurt, leaving no question as to why everyone is eager to lock 2021 in a box and throw away the key. But I also recognize that it was not all just one big dumpster fire- 2021 had plenty of great moments too. Sure, some of this recognition comes from me having some standout moments like an art piece of mine being in a show at a leading art museum, being selected as a Posse scholar for Colby College and seeing Harry Styles in concert. But it also comes from the collective good we saw around the world, such as the rollout of a coronavirus vaccine, the first female and black Vice-President of the United States entering office, Taylor’s Versions of Fearless and Red, and countless more pop-culture highlights. 

My point of all of this is that though you rightfully may hate the last 365 days, to overlook the good days, however few or many you had, would be a disservice to yourself. The only way we all get through everything that comes our way is by finding some good to help one foot go in front of the other. As this year ends and we prepare for a fresh track to walk on, I hope everyone takes some time in their celebrations to celebrate the little or big moments that pushed us and made 2021 good in any capacity.

In an effort to set myself up for success in 2022, I played ‘22’ (Taylor’s Version) as the clock struck midnight. If 22 was such a great year for Taylor, it must be a sign that it will be a great year for everyone else… right? Regardless, I went into the new year, like many, optimistic and ready for an abundance of good. Resolutions made, we are all entering this year with the hope that it can only get better from 2021. 

Already, I am excited for all this new year has on the horizon. As a senior, I find it bittersweet to be leaving but am extremely excited for the beginning of my college experience. While knowing that I will be going across the country to Maine in the fall is honestly terrifying, I know that the experience will be life changing and introduce me to new people, places and adventures (also below-freezing temperatures but we aren’t going to focus on that right now). 

As always, the resolutions we make right now are likely to be abandoned within the next few months and that’s alright! In my opinion, resolutions are just meant to introduce us to the change we want to make so it can stay with us subconsciously as the year goes on, even if the strict action we take in the beginning doesn’t last. 

It seems that the general consensus is 2022 will be the year of good and the year of change to make it good. If that is true, I hope each and every one of you take your resolutions, find the good parts (small and big) of your days and toast a half-full glass to the new year. Because hey, I don’t know about you but I’m feeling ’22.