Where, when, how to start? A guide to healing in 2022


Lucy Walker

2021 was rough. So where do we start to ensure a better 2022? Smith Inglesby tries to offer their perspective in this opinion piece on healing this year.

Smith Inglesby, Staff Writer

For me, 2021 ended not with a bang but with a whimper. Dec. 31 was a rough day. I found myself thinking about everything that had happened in the past year and that, along with sleep deprivation and the sad book I was reading (the excellent “Radio Silence” by Alice Oseman), turned out to be an inauspicious way to begin the new year. And so I may or may not have gone to bed teary eyed and may or may not have convinced myself I would grow old without ever finding happiness.

All that personal stuff to say, I was, and still am, ready to shed the feeling of being stuck. I’ve been stuck in my home, stuck away from my home, stuck in my brain, stuck in my body, so suffice it to say that I know the feeling of being stuck. I’m done.

What I’ve learned through all of this is that I can’t control a variety of external situations: if I have to lock down or how those around me react to the positive energy that I am trying to generate. In the summer of 2020, my dog of 13 years got sick again, and there was nothing we could do. I couldn’t control it then, and I can’t control it now.

But fortunately, I can control how I react to similar situations that come up in my everyday life. 

A first step in pinpointing how one sees themself could be a simple reflection. What are three words you would use to describe your true self? No matter how much those words differ from what others might say, how you see yourself matters. If you can’t identify who you truly are, you may never find out what makes your real self happy.

Now, what do you think you honestly struggled with last year? I, for example, spent 3 months away from home, and fought the whole time to go back. I truly believed that change would destroy me before it helped me in the slightest. But the more I resisted, the further away from getting better I got. Once I finally allowed myself the freedom to be where I was and know why I was there, accepting change became infinitely easier. I had spent so long fighting that I had forgotten what I really wanted for myself. I invite you to write about your inner battles too, and in doing so maybe we can shed our burdens and enter 2022 a little bit lighter. 

Whatever those struggles may be, know that they won’t last forever. Mine didn’t. Certain times are simply harder than others. The best way we can help one another, and ourselves, going forward is by being present.

I think something to keep in mind most this coming year is that it is okay to feel your emotions. There’s nothing wrong with being sad or angry. It’s alright to be happy with what you have, and it’s alright to want more. You might choose to write inspirational messages in your notes app or in your bedroom on a sticky note to keep your mind at bay. But even if you don’t, the key to a journey forward is to find a way to appreciate yourself for who you truly are. Because maybe that’s how you’ll heal this year. Just maybe, it will be better. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. And maybe it will be better.