All good things and bad things and in-between things must come to an end. I don’t know whether this year was a good one or a bad one, or whether it was better or worse than the last.   

We started the year with the Truckers’ Convoy and continued a tumultuous path through the invasion of Ukraine, the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the housing crisis reached a peak, as did gas and food prices, the cost of living soared, Iranians around the world and in the region are raising their voices against the Islamic regime.   

Regionally, the WRDSB is facing legal action by a former teacher, the City of Kitchener is running consultations on what to do with the statue of Queen Victoria in Willow River Park, we’re seeing some resurgence of anti-vax sentiments, our unhoused population is fighting a legal battle with the region and climate change continues to threaten our survival.   

All of which to say, it’s been a wild ride.   

While the pandemic is not over yet, we are on the path back to normal. After two years of off-and-on lockdowns, the world into which we emerged was different. We were fearful, impatient, argumentative, opinionated, exhausted, desperate.  

We needed some semblance of normalcy. We demanded change.   

As the year winds down, I realize we are not living in unprecedented times. All the people that came before and all the people that will come after have and will experience terrifying situations. We are enduring terrifying and unendurable situations but resilience is, I believe, inherent in all people.   

We will be okay.    

Sometimes, everything happening all at once is a little overwhelming. It’s hard to think about domestic and international issues without a sense of helplessness; it’s hard to march and protest without a sense of despair.   

This year, I also saw many people burn out. People doing good and important work that simply did not receive enough support to continue at their pace.   

I did not do everything I planned or hoped to do this year. I had to re-evaluate my priorities and my goals, see where my energies would be better spent. I had to give up on things very important to me and lower my ambitions. Smaller goals and mitigated ambitions are still meaningful, still important.   

But we keep each other going. When I was tired, others propped me up. When I faced adversity, others stood by me (and also listened to me rant). Other people are necessary to our own survival.   

These people are family and friends and compassionate acquaintances. They are old friends with whom I reconnected years later and new friends that became my people only this year. All of them were necessary for getting through this year, all of them were vital to not only survival but well-being.   

As the year draws to a close, I hope you can take a break. I hope you find time to rest and reflect.   

And in the new year, we’ll meet again. This time, as old friends.