Now, I’m not a big one for New Year’s Resolutions or even one to put too much stock in one yar being all that different from the preceding one, but I do think that a new year means it’s a good time to look forward to the upcoming year and what might be coming. While I don’t think 2022 will be massively different than 2021, there are a few things on the horizon in the world and for me personally that I’m looking forward to. So rather than making resolutions, these are the things I can’t wait for in 2022.
First up, 2022 promises to be the year we continue the trend toward more stability in the pandemic. I don’t believe we’re ever going back to pre-pandemic life, especially with regard to work, the risks we take, and how we approach large gatherings, but after the big bumps in the road that came each time it felt like things were getting more normal in 2021 with Delta and Omicron, I think 2022 will be much the same. The spring and summer will likely bring periods of improvement and feel like a regular way of life has returned while additional variants and periods of increased cases will interrupt it and add uncertainty. But with boosters - I suspect we’ll be boosting again in the Spring or early Summer, vaccinated kids and probably boosters for them around the same time, and hopefully vaccinations for our youngest around the time he turns two in the spring, we’ll at least feel in control enough to get out and back to some of the things we most enjoy. We’re probably never going back to the point where we would feel comfortable in a movie theater, but parties, sporting events, and indoor dinning will be low risk enough that it’s worth doing after the Omicron wave starts to subside. We enjoyed a tremendously fun hockey game with the twins earlier this season before Omicron, and I’m hoping 2022 means more of that kind of event for us.
Along with that, 2022 looks to be the year we certainly get in some domestic travel beyond where the car can get us, and optimistically, a return to international travel, perhaps in the summer. We’ve already got a flight planned to Colorado with the kids in April to meet up with friends and ski. It’ll be their first time on a plane since the start of the pandemic and possible because of vaccinations opening up to them, our boosters, and ideally lower cases at that point in the year. If those continue and the youngest is also able to get vaccinated by the summer, we’ll likely feel good enough to take the whole family on a trip internationally, aiming for somewhere we can mostly stay outside, possibly rent our own place to stay, and of course pick a place with high vaccination rates and low cases, something I see picking up as a massive trend in 2022, following the growth in tourism to places with strong COVID responses like Puerto Rico, Portugal, and Spain in 2021.
We will also be able to get away as a couple in 2022, spending some quality time together and with friends away from the kids. As it becomes less risky for us to travel and for us to leave them at home, we should be able to get away for a few trips and more regularly out for date nights than we did the past year. In 2021, we took our first flight since the start of the pandemic to California, and got in a couple of nights out in town without the kids, but these felt like exceptions and us testing the waters. In 2022, it looks like we’ll be able to continue these trends with a ski trip with friends in the winter, much more regular date nights out in town and in the city, and potentially another trip or getaway for just us. We may also even end up traveling for work again, not exactly a huge break, but at least one where we can take a little respite from all the time together as a full family and with the responsibilities of parenting. Arranging child care and reducing risk of eating out and other activities away from home should all continue to get a bit easier throughout 2022.
Beyond the pandemic, I’m looking forward to more time together as a family with the kids. While it’s been great to have all this unexpected and unplanned time together as a family, it’s also nice to spend more of that time away from home. Beyond the trips, 2022 looks to be a year we can get out of the house more regularly. With the kids a year older, there’s more we can do together. Throughout the winter, ice skating and skiing look to be activities to get us out and about as a family nearly every weekend and we’ve already started earnestly. Over the break, we got to fulfil a dream of mine while skating together as a family in Bryant park with the kids zipping around to the amusement and amazement of others there. Maybe not in 2022, but in the future I expect we’ll have the youngest out on the ice with us as well.
Personally, I’m also looking forward to some new fitness and health goals in 2022. Rather than setting a definitive goal this year, I’m trying to be a bit more flexible and forgiving with myself. With no major race registrations now or planned, I aim to enjoy the year without being tied to a specific race or training plan. In 2021, I enjoyed getting more cross training with cycling and strength workouts at home in addition to all the miles of skating, bike riding around town, and skiing with the kids. I feel the most well rounded I’ve ever been and most balanced with fitness ever even with a heavy focus on running in preparation for my best ever marathon finish in the late fall. In 2022, I’ll likely end up registering for at least one big race, but for the time being, I’m just going to take it week by week and enjoy getting stronger and more fit rather than obsessing over times and distances. Though knowing me I’ll probably end up signing up for an ultra-marathon before the end of the year to have a goal.
I am also excited to continue and grow more in my nutrition goals or removing meat, especially red meat from my diet picking up from 2021. I continuously got better with minimizing meat throughout the year and by the end of the year was regularly turning down even the more exciting sounding meat based options at restaurants, opting for portabella subs instead of italian ones, going for paneer over chicken for our regular Indian meals, and picking tofu over meat for Chinese food nights. We even went completely meatless for both Thanksgiving (thanks to the tofu log) and Christmas. We had the best all vegetarian meal of my life at Eleven Madison Park for a late 10th anniversary date night. In 2022, I’m not setting a specific % or number of days or meals goal, just aiming to continue to be as thoughtful about what I chose to eat.
Building on that, I also want to build on something we got better at throughout 2021, drinking less. I wouldn’t say I had too many big drink nights - getting older and knowing that no matter what at least one kid is going to wake up at 7 makes it hard to party very hard - but I want to build upon the success we had with not drinking Monday-Thursday, reduce how much I have the other days, and overall be more thoughtful about it. I don’t expect to get to not drinking at all, especially with trips to Vermont and Colorado somewhat built around brewery visits, but I do want to reduce overall for my health. I may even jump onto the recent trends in craft non-alcoholic brewing since more good options are coming up there.
I’m also excited to see our friends and family more regularly in 2022. 2020 and 2021 largely forced us to isolate our family more often, especially before the vaccine roll outs, testing, boosters, and the children’s eligibility. With friends scattered around the country and moved further away, we weren’t able to get in trips to meet up often, and have gone over two years now without spending much time with many of our friends and big portions of our family. In 2022, we’re hoping to see the folks we haven’t seen in person, whether it’s those that live in other countries, across the US, or just far enough away that we haven’t seen enough of each other. In 2022, it’s time to start rebuilding some of those friendships and family ties.
Lastly, I want 2022 to see me spending less time on social media and more time engaging in real life with our family and friends. I got into bad habits of spending more time on Twitter especially in 2021, using it as a way to fill the small gaps between things on a regular basis. After deleting Facebook, Instagram, and other apps several years ago, I hadn’t really replaced them with Twitter until 2021 when it became an easy way to fill time. I want to get back away from that and be more thoughtful about spending time engaged with the people around me. No more phone time while waiting for the boys to brush their teeth or while waiting for a call to start.
While I don’t think 2022 is going to be the miraculous return to better times that many are hoping, I do think it will continue the trend of life feeling a bit more normal and less risky. Like 2021, there will still be waves where we go back into distancing and reduced socialization, but on the whole, I expect that we’ll be out and about more regularly. In that time, I look forward to continuing some of the best things to come out of the pandemic for us in terms of spending more time together as a family and even more time making great memories including some travel, continuing on our positive health trends, and spending more time with the people around us that matter most. Instead of the zoom calls and weekends spent in our basement, 2022 should bring more time back together in person and building strong relationships.