Updated: January 1, 2022 9:21:30 am
At the end of 2020, there was hope that the horrors of annus horribilis were over. Vaccines were on the way, social life could resume, loneliness would be dissipated. On New Year’s Eve, the young and the restless, the old and the jaded, had to stay home — nursing a solitary drink, perhaps the pretence of a party over a video chat. Dreaming of parties, of hugs and music, seeing friends again, many people held on to hope. As it turns out, annus horribilis had a sequel, which makes for a depressing “new normal”. A year later, faking it is that much harder.
A New Year’s Eve party became out of the question as the contagion loomed. Even the more staid “dinner and a movie” has been made impossible by Omicron. The conservatives and the puritanical will rejoice at this prohibition. Even for those who imbibe, it might be good to begin the new year sans a hangover. And then, as so many continue to suffer the pandemic’s effects, isn’t celebrating a new year a tad selfish, even in poor taste?
The answer to these questions, the balm for the guilt people might feel at having fun, is simple. Life under Covid has been a constant oppression and a drink, a song, a bit of dancing, even a good conversation, can provide relief. Before the pandemic, in good years and bad, the celebration was not for the year gone by but the one to come, to put the past where it belonged. And, arguably, to fortify people to deal with the suffering that is bound to ensue. But in the hardest years humanity has faced in recent memory, the safety valve of blowing off some steam has been taken away from us by disease and by lockdowns. Yet, dear readers, we enter the new year with hope that at the end of 2022, we can all, together, raise a toast.