Entertainment, Katie McDowell, Life & Leisure

Making the best of a not-the-best year

Katie McDowell

I saw a meme the other day with a woman ugly crying and the words, “The moment you realize 2022 is pronounced 2020, too” written above it.

A pretty horrible thought, given that 2021 already felt like an extension-slash-bad sequel to that terrible enough year.

Here we are with this pandemic still clouding our collective conscience, keeping us mired in disconnection and uncertainty. So much for all that optimism we felt last New Year’s, amirite?

But you know, when I sit back and think about everything that did happen this year, it’s a lot, at least in my little world.

I got both shots and my booster.

I continued with therapy.

I went back to the office full-force after 14 months of remoting in from home.

I hosted several small, fully vaxxed get-togethers for brunch and coffee.

I adopted another dog and she’s thriving.

I got down to my 11th grade weight and through sheer willpower (and intermittent fasting) have kept it there.

Turned my spare room into a massive closet.

Took up hiking.

I advanced at work, got fillers in my frown lines, walked at least 12,000 steps a day and didn’t forget to take the trash out once.

Not bad, considering it sometimes feels like all I did was watch Netflix and curse COVID from my couch.

To be fair, I did do a good bit of that, too.

It’s nice to know, though, that despite the nagging sensation of time being wasted, there were quite a few actual accomplishments and personal successes.

For a bad year, it was pretty good.

Definitely helps keep things in perspective, heading into 2022.

I remember penning this column at the start of 2021, with one simple-yet-daunting mission in mind.

I wrote, “But the gist of it is: I just want to be OK. Like, inside myself, with myself, OK.”

And I’m happy to report that I can add that to my (very short) list of resolutions kept, right under, “drink more water” from back in ’09.

Not just because of the 11th-grade weight thing, either.

The optimism of 2021 wasn’t completely misplaced. Delta, then omicron — and as sure as I’m sitting here, new variants behind them — may be putting a dent in some of it.

But small achievements can be as awesome as big ones, especially when everything else is off.

Being OK when things aren’t OK — I feel like Brené Brown would be proud.

I hope with all in me that 2022 will be the year this plague turns around — that everyone woke up yesterday morning resolving to be vaccinated, boostered and generally responsible. That our health care workers get a much-needed break and the world can move on, wrapping this virus in with seasonal annoyances like the flu.

Until then, however, I hope we can continue to find happiness and fulfillment in the little ways we can still control, and congratulate ourselves — and each other — on those wins, with grace.

Didn’t forget that trash once, y’all.

Happy New Year, my friends. May we make it our best yet.

Katie McDowell is the managing editor and lifestyles columnist for The Dominion Post. Share your 2021 wins and hopes for 2022 with her at kmcdowell@dominionpost.com.