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"Let it Go! Reset and Regroup" by Dr.Tawnya Pettiford-Wates

I’m Just Sayin’ Dr. T’s Column 1/05/22

Welp! Here we are in the new year 2022! It remains astounding to me each time we move into a new year, especially as we go further into the 21st century. We have endured so much in the past two years that seemed impossible to endure and yet, here we are. We’ve had to reset and readjust our expectations once again as we move towards what the new year might bring us. Unbelievable that we are entering a third year of a global pandemic with no end in sight. We could focus on what we have lost or how difficult our lives have been as the “normalcy” that we once knew as society continues to be just out of reach. We remain behind masks, plexiglass partitions and the scent of endless disinfectant spray, as hands that must be perpetually sanitized follows us everywhere we go. If we go anywhere at all. People are physically, emotionally, and psychologically exhausted by it all. So how do we gird our loins for the challenges of the coming year without becoming jaded and bitter at the plight of our existence?

First, we must acknowledge with gratitude that we survived the past two years regardless of how spiritually drained we might feel now. Upon reflection the truth is that many thousands of people did not survive. And that is heartbreaking. Perhaps one day we will memorialize them appropriately with a National Day of Recognition and a memorial. We must never forget that we’ve lost almost twice as many Americans to COVID-19 as we did in World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined. Additionally, in 2021 we lost more people than we did in 2020. Thankfully, with the production and distribution of the vaccine to fight the virus, with more cooperation on mitigating the spread of COVID including masking, testing, and quarantine, we hope that the mortality rate will continue to decline in 2022. Finally, perhaps, we can begin to emerge from this long dark tunnel that we’ve been stuck in for the past couple of years. Scientists have told us to prepare for the fact that we may be living with this virus for quite some time to come. And we better begin to prepare ourselves to do just that. Whatever we do, we must reckon with these circumstances because it’s the hand we have been dealt. And we must deal with it! What else can we do? In what ways can we strategize how to move forward and not just hold our ground? We cannot continue to live in limbo simply waiting for the storm to pass. We must adjust, regroup, and reset so that we can still live our lives as completely as possible. We must find joy in the lives we have rather than continuously bemoaning the lives that we can no longer live due to the circumstances we find ourselves dealing with on many levels.

Many of our families have been divided against one another and disconnected due to their vaccination status. This is truly a tragedy. The discourse around the medical recommendations and constant “mixed messaging” from the Center for Disease Control and our healthcare providers have caused continual confusion and discord in our homes and within our communities. In 2022 we must find ways to reset and reconnect with one another, especially with our families whether they are our family of origin or our chosen family. Time is not a renewable resource and none of us knows how much time we have left on this earth. Let’s make 2022 our year to reconnect with our humanity, to recognize that we are all in this together. Not only do we need to look at ourselves and our community, but we need to address the state of our nation and our world as well. Martin Luther King, Jr said it more succinctly and with a profound resonance.

All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.”

We are all in this thing together! Let’s turn it around in 2022 because we MUST!

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