It’s true. A dark cloud hung over 2021 as it blended into the thick fog of 2020. Few people, if anyone, will disagree with that.

The source of angst wasn’t just political and social unrest, California wildfires, the chaotic departure from Afghanistan, multiple mass shootings, the politicizing of the pandemic and the sheer force of the pandemic itself.

It was all of that – and more. So much infighting. So much anxiety. So much warring.

But there were funny moments. There were feel-good moments. And tucked within were subtle messages to be learned.

Consider these nuggets of wisdom from last year’s news:


Jill and Joe were, even if by accident.

An April 30 photo shoot was meant to be a heartwarming portrait of the Bidens with former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. Instead, the shoot went south – and east and west – and in the photo the Bidens appear to be giants in the Carter’s Plains, Georgia, home. Or maybe it’s just a tiny house?

With the midterm elections nearing and political tensions high, it’s time to get a handle on the emotions. Sure, it’s easy to get sucked into a blowout over dinner or social media. But is that really necessary?

“The reason people fight in the first place is that we feel stuck,” licensed psychologist La Keita D. Carter said in a Psychology Today report.

It’s hard to feel more stuck than in the middle of a pandemic. But volatility isn’t going to make it go away. Choose words carefully, don’t yell, and pause to understand what’s really maddening.


Bernie did. Keeping warm in his casual mittens made from a recycled sweater, the Vermont senator was himself a celebrity at Biden’s inauguration in January.

In the photo that spurred an onslaught of hilarious memes, Sanders, 80, demonstrated oh-so-clearly his ability to chill out, even with tension running high.

“Many of us are facing challenges that can be stressful, overwhelming, and cause strong emotions in adults and children,” according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. “Public health actions, such as physical distancing, can make us feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety.”

How to relax? The CDC recommends taking breaks from the news and social media, committing to causes, being active, learning something new, and connecting with others in the meaningful ways that are possible.


Just as the delta variant sent the United States surging with COVID cases that made it safer just to stay home, the universe delivered “Get Back.”

This Peter Jackson documentary series covers the making of the Beatles’ 1970 album, “Let It Be,” as recorded by Michael Lindsay-Hogg for a documentary of the album. The result is an inside look at the legendary band over the course of nearly eight hours of footage delivered in three episodes.

One of the remarkable revelations is that the animosity among bandmates seems to have been grossly exaggerated in pop-culture lore. Even this close to the end, the brotherly love is palpable among John, Paul, George and Ringo, regardless of whether they are quarreling. And Yoko? At least in these eight hours she’s not meddling at all. Most of the time she’s just a quiet, observing presence — pocket-pet-like in fact.

Peace is good for people, too. Inner calm is like a compass, psychological experts say. It allows a clear focus on goals and what’s really important, puts things in perspective, and shows the ways to get around obstacles to arrive at a desired destination.

Yes, the answer to where we want to be is out of this pandemic. But we’re not there yet. Working together, we can be.

Happy New Year.

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