I’ve found it hard to keep track of years after 2020. Even saying “2022” is difficult for me so far. Most often it comes out as “twenty twenty twenty twenty…two.” But, as the new year draws closer, I’ve been practicing.
I’m also trying to get used to uncertainty. The new normal means not being able to make plans too far in the future. It means waiting, indefinitely, for the people and places we want to see. It can stunt your ability to dream.
But the unexpected isn’t always unwelcome. In a brief worry window between Delta and Omicron this year, I graduated from college and got married. I was able to see my friends; some family members were able to travel from other countries to attend the ceremonies. Even though nothing happened how I imagined it, I was so grateful for these unpredictable moments of joy in hard times.
While I’ve had happy personal moments, it’s harder to figure out how to push for bigger change in an upended world. In the new year, I want to be even more ambitious about ensuring our political, economic and social systems do not discriminate against women and girls. Specifically, I want to see all girls in Afghanistan go back to school. This is my most urgent priority for 2022.
As I write this, I am sitting with my husband Asser in a Thai restaurant waiting for our main course (Thai fried rice, chicken and massaman curry). I’m feeling very grateful for this moment. I hope there will be more like it in 2022…but, like all of us, I will take moments of joy as they come, when they come, and keep working for a better world in whatever way I can.
Happy new year to you and your loved ones,