And so this is the New Year – and what have we learned?

karen hot talk

African proverb “On lesson learned – Don’t look where you fall, but where you slipped.”

I think we can all agree that 2021 was a tough year with many slips and falls! It was a year of loss, hardship, conflict, fear, death, division, breakdown, break up, political scandal and government upheaval. But it was also a year of discovery, perseverance, resilience, unity, birth, creativity, clarity, social activism, re-evaluation and recalibration. In future years 2021 may be regarded as one of the greatest pivotal years in history. 

This past year some of us lost loved ones, our job or our family-owned business. Some of us lost our home, and some of us lost ourselves. Some lost hope in the future and some lost trust in our governing bodies. Some business owners had their best year ever, but most of us couldn’t wait to see the year end! 

As much as we may want to forget 2021 all together, there are valuable lessons to be learned from all the pain and loss. Lessons that we must remember so that we can do better in future. So often, when we go through painful times, we carry the pain forward and leave the lesson behind. When we do this, we are destined to repeat the lesson. 

So this is the New Year – and what have we learned? 

We’ve learned a new way to communicate and stay connected – Thank you Zoom, and other virtual platforms! We’ve learned to bump elbows instead of shake hands. We’ve learned to appreciate the opportunity to go to an event, a party, a class or even a simple coffee date whenever the pandemic numbers were low and health regulations allowed us to meet in person. We’ve learned that there are things threatening the health, safety & welfare of our society other than COVID and that is social injustice, racism, poverty and climate change. And we’ve learned to care enough about these issues to work together to create meaningful change. (We’re not there yet, there is more to do, but we’ve at least begun!) We’ve learned to appreciate small things like borrowing a book or video from the library, planting a garden or taking the time to chat with our neighbours. We’ve learned to pay more attention to what our governing bodies are doing. We’ve learned that the word “normal” just means what the majority represents but that doesn’t necessarily make normal “right or good.” We’ve learned that we all need some social interaction and that we also need some alone time – and that both are okay. We’ve also learned that some things in our lives weren’t working all that great, it was just that we had learned to tolerate and accommodate them – and that is not okay. 

And possibly one of the most fascinating medical breakthroughs that we learned culminated in 2020 with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry being awarded to Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier for their discovery of the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors theory that has revolutionized genome editing.  This knowledge presents endless possibilities for managing future pandemics and curing diseases. 

Yes, 2021 was a tough year with many slips and falls. We now look toward the New Year with new technologies, new hope and new lessons learned. By sharing our knowledge, strength, courage, hope, faith and compassion I believe that together we will do better.  

This is my opinion. What’s yours?

What lessons have you learned from this past year?
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January 3, 2022 - January 18, 2022
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About the author

Karen McKee

Karen McKee

Karen McKee moved to Chestermere from Thunder Bay, Ontario in 2012. She and her husband of 42 years live a very active life with a family of 4 children and 1 grandson. Her earlier work career was in sales & marketing. In 2014 she became a Certified Coach Practitioner and in 2015 she formed her company PathwaysCoaching.
Karen volunteers in our community for multiple activities and events.
She is passionate about excellence in leadership and good governance and hopes to share that passion with others through her writing.

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