2021 — The year that almost was
As we enter 2022, I have this unsettling feeling that does not allow me to come to terms with the fact that 2021 has come and gone, and not much has changed.
January 2021 looked so bright, so open, so promising! I personally thought it would be a year of groundbreaking changes. I could taste the initial social revolution in my mouth, especially after so many anti-oppression and eye-opening protests. I could almost touch the renewed hope that came with the approval of vaccines. Hugs would be a possibility again, travelling would resume and meeting people in person would no longer seem so odd. Nonetheless, none of those promises lived up to the hype and the year of so many promises felt like a blur. The questions I ask myself are how did we get here? Why did we let ourselves break so many promises? How did the excitement of social transformation mixed with the desire for some semblance of normal life turn into this dull, fast moving, blur of a year?
A new president was elected, vaccines were available, social injustices gained a shed of light, gender equality was a trend, and yet, here we are. Afghanistan is back in the hands of Taliban, the Yemeni conflict reached its 7th year, Omicron is here and we still have to make a lot of noise to be heard in this sea of social and racial injustices. Roe v Wade is actually at risk of being overturned and the fight for reproductive rights is on the brink of taking a major step back.
What happened to 2021 and all of the wishful thinking we had for it? I don’t know about you dear readers, but I have found so many men attaching themselves to gender roles last year. So many guys talking about manhood in what seems to be a desperate attempt to hold on to what is known and comfortable, that I ask myself, is that what 2021 was? A year of so many promising things, that we all just shrunk back into our shells out of fear for the unknown? Did we just get too scared to face change that we went back to our old patterns, not because they are healthier, but because they are more comfortable? And if so, what can we expect for 2022?
Is this to be another year of inertia and draining fights? Or is 2022 the year where all of the enlightenment sparked in 2020 will come to life? Will 2022 be the year 2021 could not be?
Well, I sure hope so. So 2022, whatever you will be, I hope you do better than the last one. I hope we find our strength again and that we are able to rebuild our critical thinking. May we achieve the dreams we dreamed in 2020 and may we please, do the work and make the changes even when we fear them the most.