AS we begin a new year it is easy to feel a bit despondent, given where we are with the current levels of Covid-19 infection in our communities and, indeed, throughout the world.
And, certainly, the combined trauma of the past two years is likely to have given us all a ‘glass half empty’ feeling.
However, a more studied approach to 2022, and in unison, a fair retrospective view of 2021 might in fact give us plenty to be thankful about.
If we look back at this time last year, we were just at the beginning of our now hugely successful vaccination programme.
Once Annie Lynch, the 79 year-old Dublin woman from Dublin became the first person in Ireland to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in December, the country began in earnest, last January, what became one of the world’s most successful take-ups of the vaccine.
We have each other to thank for that.
And while the figures for cases in recent days are no doubt causing anxiety, it is truly frightening to imagine what they might have looked like had we not taken the programme on board with such gusto.
Certainly the ICU figures would have dwarfed what we are currently seeing.
But it is not just with Covid that we have made some progress.
The past year has brought conversations around climate change to the fore.
Like it or not, there is hardly a person on the planet now who doesn’t know, and accept, the danger that is coming down the tracks rapidly, without some drastic measures.
And while there is still plenty of room for improvement, especially on a macro level, look closer to home and you will see your friends, neighbours, colleagues all making their own small efforts to help save our dying planet.
And yes, we can beat our brows at the lack of any movement at all from some countries and giant corporations, but there is nothing like people power to effect eventual change.
Let us not forget that it is from small acorns that great oak trees grow.
We are getting better at purchasing e-cars, at using better fuels, at recycling, at re-gifting, at upcycling clothes, furniture, and repurposing electrical items.
Step by step, we are making progress. And if our older world leaders and business moguls are slow to the game, then take a look at our young people – the leaders of tomorrow and beyond.
Look at their wonderful Fridays for Future protests, their enthusiasm for initiatives like Junk Kouture, and their endorsement of important figureheads like Greta Thunberg.
If they can keep up the pressure, and keep their heads, then the future may not be such a grey place for our little planet.
And what about politics?
This week last year saw the storming of the Capitol building in Washington by disgruntled Trump supporters – one of the darkest days in modern US history.
A year on, like him or not, Biden is a far more mollifying influence in America today.
There has been a lot less drama in US politics this year and that can be no bad thing.
So let us look forward to 2022 with optimism and be sanguine for the next 12 months.
Happiness is infectious, so let’s spread it far and wide.