After a few years of isolation and exhaustion, the year of 2022 will hopefully bring resilience and remembering. 

As we head into 2022, many of us are still processing the isolation, exhaustion and grief that have marked the past two years of the global pandemic.

I think it is safe to say we would rather forget about the time we spent isolated from family and friends, the hours spent on Zoom and the moments when we felt sad, anxious or alone.

But I hope that we do remember these times, as hard as they were and still are, because I think they remind us of what really matters in life.

I hope we remember the missed milestones, the canceled weddings and the times when we could not hug our loved ones. I hope we remember this so that this year, when we gather with loved ones, we are grateful. I hope we cherish those hugs we give. I hope we reach out to friends we haven’t seen in a while. I hope we make new friends and are grateful for old ones.

I hope we remember the days we struggled, felt lonely or sad. I hope we remember, so that this year, we take care of ourselves. I hope we prioritize our physical and mental health. I hope we check in on people who are struggling and ask for help when we are, too. I hope we find time to rest and do the things that bring us joy. I hope that we are gentler on ourselves and each other. 

I hope we remember that we are resilient. Even at the peak of the pandemic, we still found ways to laugh, celebrate and connect with each other. We found ways to fight injustice, to organize and to demand change.

Scientists developed life-saving vaccines. Frontline and essential workers tirelessly and bravely went to work each day. Artists continued to create, teachers continued to teach and students continued to learn.

We even saw some glimpses of normalcy again. Although we are still very much in the fight against COVID-19, I know there will be more moments of resiliency to come. I hope we remember that, too.

And lastly, as we embark on a new year of unknowns, I hope that we can find a fresh start. If you’re one for New Year’s resolutions, I hope you can find a renewed desire to prioritize human connection, mental health and self-care.

I hope we remember what made these times so hard, what we were longing for and what we took for granted. Life is short and fleeting, so reach out to that friend you’ve been thinking about, hug the people you love and take care of yourself, too.

These are the things that really matter.

Claire Tollan is a staff writer.