End of year reflection
AND just like that, another year has flown by.
As we bid farewell to 2021, we can look back at a year of challenges, progress, new discoveries, unity, and change. Although ongoing difficulties posed by the Covid pandemic remained for many, progress on the vaccine rollout enabled us to live life a bit more freely, albeit cautiously, which was truly wonderful for our mental wellbeing. 2021 saw encouraging new discoveries in science, health and ways of working. There was also a greater work-life balance and in particular a move to living sustainably.
The movement to ditch plastic, fast fashion, and need to address the climate emergency gained far-reaching momentum across the globe. Not only is living extra consciously beneficial to us individually, but the positive impact on communities and the planet are huge, which is brilliant. Despite tedious divisive culture wars, mostly fuelled by politics and social media, 2021 has shown us some moving moments of shared humanity – heartbreaking cases of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa brought together people from all walks of life, standing in solidarity to end violence against women. It’s sad that it takes such tragic adversity to unite people. Hopefully, this story will change with more men taking proactive action. And there have been countless news stories of kindness showcasing the best of humanity.
A big highlight of 2021 was seeing south Asian sisters challenging age-old traditions and outdated narratives. Diwali is largely family-centric and strong gender stereotyping happens when women cook, clean the house, or serve male family members food. Sangeeta Pillai, founder of Masala Podcast, created her own feminist Diwali rituals because she doesn’t have that traditional family setup. Dr Anjana Khatwa, earth scientist and presenter, created a uniquely stunning rangoli from autumn leaves.
There were inspiring contributions to Eastern Eye, including columns by Sunita Kaur Seera and Kaveeta Sanun, on finding love post-divorce and living with illness, which smashed cultural messages and showed finding love is always possible. Sadly, many women are still terribly judged for not ‘not being good enough’ or ‘not doing it properly’. And this must change.
Ultimately, while some walk a path of privilege, others have only themselves to rely on. Each person is a unique treasure trove with an original story that adds to the whole. If we are willing to ask questions and listen nonjudgmentally, we can learn so much from one another.
Given this, we have the opportunity to approach the world in a new way. Change can feel scary, but when we remain warm and keep the spark of curiosity alive, it opens us up to learning, more joy, unity, richer experiences, and most importantly, connection, which is needed now more than ever to help combat loneliness and mental health issues.
As we transition into 2022, I hope we overcome challenges with added wisdom and grace. I hope we keep building on the progress we’ve made this year. I hope our hearts and minds open wider to uncover further new and exciting discoveries. I hope we live with greater compassion and unity and are willing to take a look at shadow parts of ourselves and the world around us. I hope we all make healthier changes in the right direction. Thank you for reading my columns this year and I wish you all the very best for 2022.
www.mitamistry.co.uk and Twitter: @MitaMistry