It’s 7:30 am on New Year’s Day. Morning dawns cold and clear and silver over the snow that still blankets the roads and rooftops in our neighborhood. I am in the nursery, trying to coax a three-month-old human to go back to sleep. My wife has been up half the night with an anxious dog while fireworks and clanging pots and pans tore through the night and I’m trying to give her a break so she can rest. The wriggling little girl in my arms finally stills, her breathing quiet as she drifts off.
The pace of life is different in the fresh hours of 2022. The previous year was a hard one. The world stood on what felt like the brink of collapse, with a virus raging and political strife surrounding us. I tried to keep myself safe and protect my growing family, holed up in our house, which sometimes times felt like a refuge and other times like a prison.
In the midst of uncertainty, I started a new job after months of not knowing if I would ever find one. We welcomed our daughter into this broken world on the last warm day of autumn — a glimmer of something beautiful in the gathering dark. Becoming a parent is not what I expected. I am not different; only my priorities have changed. I find more joy in simple things: an extra hour of sleep, a smile, a filling meal, and in all the changes wrought in the fires of the outgoing year.
There is nothing inherently special about this day. I choose to find meaning in the turning of the year, even though I know that there’s still going to be a pandemic, climate change, war and shadows of war, hunger and homelessness, division and suffering in 2022, just as there was in 2021. I choose to look ahead with hope despite all of that, because there’s also going to be beauty. My daughter will grow. She’ll learn to sit up on her own, express herself, and notice new things each day.
As morning light fills this tiny room, I am grateful for my family, for four walls and a comfortable rocking chair, for gray hairs, for pandemic projects, for good books and steaming cups of tea, for a small hand wrapped around my finger. And so I enter 2022 humble, weary, restless, grateful, hopeful, and ready to be surprised by the changes in store. Happy new year.
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Jonny Eberle is a writer in Tacoma, WA. His new podcast, The Adventures of Captain Radio, is now available to stream wherever you listen to podcasts. His fiction has appeared in Creative Colloquy, Grit City Magazine, and All Worlds Wayfarer. You can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his newsletter for more thoughts and musings.