"I Believe" In a Happy New Year: A Hope-filled Letter to Our Community So We Can Be Our Own Heroes by Elisa Schmitz
To say 2021 has been a tough year is really not giving it all the credit it deserves. As with 2020, this year, we’ve suffered more dramatic change, wild weather, disruptive chaos, disease, death, despair. We’ve lost so many and so much. We are disconnected and grieving. In my own family, the pandemic has claimed jobs and lives, and some will forever be altered from the effects of the terrible disease that has continued to plague us. We mourn. We try to go on. We always remember.
There have been some silver linings along the way, such as spending more time on what’s really important rather than mindless running around, and some nice surprises, like connecting more often with loved ones via FaceTime and Zoom, and we celebrate those as the highlights they are. But we may never have been more eager to turn the calendar page to a new year as we are right now. And we hope 2022 brings the hope and relief we so badly need.
Science (and our healthcare heroes) has been working hard for us, in the form of potentially life-saving medicines and vaccines. As we see more and more people get vaccinated against COVID-19, the light at the end of this dark tunnel appears brighter and brighter.
But as we wait for more and more of us to “take our shot” and help put an end to the coronavirus pandemic that has caused so much economic and health devastation, we need to remain vigilant and not let pandemic fatigue get to us while we’re so close to a hopeful conclusion. We need to realize that no one will save us but ourselves. We alone have the power to most greatly affect our own situations.
That’s why as this year comes to a close, I want to remind myself, and all of us, that we need to be our own heroes. We can’t wait to see whether or not our government will send more stimulus checks or payroll protection. We can’t wait to see whether or not the vaccines rid the world of this deadly disease or allow us to take off our masks.
In my view, at this time, we are still playing defense. We are in protective mode, in our personal and professional lives. We need to act as though there’s no one coming to save us. And we need to realize that that’s OK, because we still have ourselves. We can be the heroes that we so desperately need right now.
What that means to me is digging even deeper into those traits that have enabled me to survive and thrive this far in my life. Chief among them? Resilience. When life throws a punch, we may hit the floor. But it’s the ability to get back up and take another step that makes all the difference.
As we close out 2021, I’m pretty sure that it’s not going to go peacefully. It’s likely to throw another punch or two on its way out the door. Let’s brace ourselves to keep taking its punches. And if 2022 enters throwing its own, let’s be ready for those, too. Being mentally prepared can only help to absorb the body blows and allow us to bounce back more effectively.
Another survival trait? Belief in oneself. Since childhood, I’ve lived by the quote “If it is to be, it is up to me.” I have owned my life’s direction and charted its course for as long as I can remember. Belief in myself was crucial, and following my instincts became second nature.
“I believe” is one of my most important mantras. It encompasses not only the faith and hope needed to survive, but also the determination and will needed to thrive. Write it down. Say it out loud.
There’s no better day than today to say “I believe.” And there’s no better year than 2021, and soon 2022, to feel it. This New Year, I believe that we are heading into brighter days. Let’s be bold and brave – and resilient and filled with belief – as we prepare to see what 2022 has in store for us. As we say goodbye to 2021 and start anew, I am sending you hope for all good things ahead, my friends. Happy New Year!