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A New Years Resolution by Kitty O'Meara

January, 2022. Our wishes for a happy new year have fallen as flat as that leftover champagne still lingering in the corner of the refrigerator’s door. Yet a new year is a new place and we can choose to see ourselves to be new as well, resolved to meet the year’s needs with our finest gifts.

Or not.

In March of 2020, I wouldn’t have imagined we’d still be navigating the Covid-19 pandemic, yet here we are. The hopeful anticipation we harbored for a less restrictive new year has not been realized. My husband and I are in relative isolation once again. I’m recovering from a knee surgery that’s proven more challenging than expected. So although we’re vaxxed and boosted and oh-so-ready to emerge, my healing, our ages, and my autoimmune diseases keep us fairly confined in a community that’s only 55% vaccinated. The area hospitals are in crisis and the grocery store pick-ups are often lacking items we ordered. Climate change, Covid-19, and our political environment are equally degrading life as we know it..

These are not the best of times.

And yet. We are vaxxed and boosted. The Omicron surge is beginning to fall. My knee will heal, in time. Our loved ones are well. We video chat with them and good friends, celebrating special days and events as we’re able. We’re busy with our individual and shared creative endeavors here at home. There are still more books to read than we’ll ever manage, and every kind of art is alive and well and available in one format or another. Live performances can be videotaped, which does not yield the enchantment of sharing space and art together, but it still fills the spirit with wonder and the profound encounter with mystery art always offers us. There are elected officials at every level fighting to preserve our democracy and scientists fighting to preserve life on Earth.

Things change. That they may not change for the better as quickly as we’d like has always been true as well. That the 66 years of my life have been largely lived in a time of relative political and economic stability, vibrant public health, and civic harmony does not mean those were given certainties or that their blessings, as I lived them, were even true for most of the humans and other animals on Earth with whom I’ve co-existed for nearly seven decades. Why should I have expected an entire life without suffering the very real hardships most of the people on Earth have faced forever? And I write this as a human who is still safe in my heated home, receiving medical care for my healing, vaccinated, fed, in touch with the larger world, and having the utter luxury to create as I’m able what I’m here to create. This, too, may change; there’s no time to waste in awfulizing and anxious complaint. So much depends on our choices. Everything, in fact.

So, what does this new year ask of me?

This is not a time to whine, to surrender hope, to sit back or give an inch regarding the ongoing struggles most humans and other animals face--and have always faced--to live lives of peace and stability, with assured justice and the freedom to pursue their dreams, using their gifts in service to all as well. As we continue to navigate the pandemic in this new year together, let’s remain clear-eyed and strong-hearted about why we’re here: to love one another and to unrelentingly push peace and justice to their limits, which are ever outward and all-inclusive.

This is not a time to whine, to surrender hope, to sit back or give an inch regarding the ongoing struggles most humans and other animals face--and have always faced--to live lives of peace and stability, with assured justice and the freedom to pursue their dreams, using their gifts in service to all as well. As we continue to navigate the pandemic in this new year together, let’s remain clear-eyed and strong-hearted about why we’re here: to love one another and to unrelentingly push peace and justice to their limits, which are ever outward and all-inclusive.

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