Last year was a milder version of ‘the pits‘ of 2020. We weren’t as blindsided and terrified as we were in March 2020 when the statewide order to ‘shelter in place’ was fresh. We’d learned that Covid was transmitted via the air we breathe and that masks mediated. Science had proven that surfaces were not disease transmitters, so we didn’t have concerns during food prep. Though some foods were in short supply – such as meat – we felt safe in grocery stores to shop leisurely.

The key: three vaccines to protect the populace were available.

And, by the beginning of November my husband and I were double-vaxxed and boosted, feeling safe to board an airplane to visit our families in the Midwest – loved ones we hadn’t seen in two years or more! We ate in restaurants there and when we returned home. It felt good to be out and about amidst people again, no longer held in a state of suspended animation.

The toilet paper shortage became the stuff of myth and those who had hoarded felt mildly embarrassed. A friend who’d mistakenly ordered twelve dozen boxes of sanitized wipes began distributing packets as tokens of friendship to save face. No one laughed at her faux pax and welcomed her gift. While we didn’t feel peaceful and serene, stability returned to the realm.

In part because a new President helmed America, slowly righting our nation’s course.

At year’s end the holidays felt normal. We enjoyed Christmas concerts and went to the mall – not to shop, but to ogle the grand decor. Our gifts to each other were resplendent, though simple, and relished for the love they showed. We re-convened our annual open house, our halls decked and our enthusiasm sparked, Omicron variant be damned. We needed to validate our shared survival in the ‘hood.

While I’ve never committed to New Year’s Resolutions, I sat down to ruminate and to count my blessings. The pandemic experience, it was agreed amongst the populace, deepened our collective understanding that the best things in life are not things. They are me and thee – and everyone – being kind.