It’s the little things

By Vivian Collings

What a year that was; for me, for you, for the world.

While going through the Echo archives to put together the Year in Review for 2022, it felt a little like scrolling back through a phone camera roll.

Seeing headlines, looking at photos, and reading stories jogged my memory and made me remember things I had forgotten since they happened.

Maybe the same will happen for you when you read through some of the major events of 2022 in the next pages of this paper; some we, perhaps, wished to forget.

Our brains do that sometimes. They block out unpleasant experiences from existing in our everyday thoughts.

These repressed memories are hidden away until we are reminded of the same feeling or event.

As for other, positive events, we may have forgotten them because we are so worried about what’s next, and we didn’t see their importance at the time.

Something may have been pleasant in the moment, but life moves fast, and our brains are always making room for the next thing.

Whether we want to or not, it’s important to remember both: The awful, big things and the small, beautiful things.

I had forgotten about how bleak last winter was until reading headlines with words like “outbreak,” “restrictions,” “cancellations,” and “isolation.”

The scary state of the world was reflected in my own life, as I’m sure it was yours.

At this time last year, my family had spent Christmas in their respective households. My friends spent their New Year’s Eve in their respective households, too.

I remember feeling a lot of anger at the time. Like most of the world, I looked for someone to blame. I felt robbed of one of my “roaring twenties” years because there was just a lot of bad.

We saw war, sickness, death, protests, regulations, shortages, and skyrocketing costs of living.

Those were added on top of each of our own personal hardships.

It’s important to remember things like COVID outbreaks in our hospitals and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, though.

It’s really important, because, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” said philosopher George Santayana. 

We also wouldn’t get the contrast of good and bad if we never remembered the bad. 

Winter can feel dull and boring.

Compared to last year, though? I would gladly take this year’s January. This winter, Canada isn’t divided down the middle. There are events happening! We get to spend time with the people we care about the most.

This year, I’m really thankful for seeing smiling faces at public skating and hearing laughter at the Jack Rabbit Nordic skiing program.

I’m thankful that I get to hug my friends.

I’m thankful for bumping into people I know while walking in town and getting to chat for a few minutes.

I’m thankful to be in an office of people that I really love to be around instead of working at home.

I didn’t recognize these little things as anything of significance until I remembered the hard parts of last year.

Yes, the big, scary things may be what we remember most about 2022, but let’s make an effort to not forget the little, beautiful things that make our everyday lives meaningful.

Like John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”