Can’t sign out of this year without giving it a firm two to the valley. So much for having my heart wrapped up in hope that the covid virus would grow weary and fizzle out. We’re now further down the Greek alphabet, Omicron has gained momentum, Delta still lurks menacingly.
Empathy galore is heaped on those who endured work and school from home, collapsing businesses, savage cuts to universities, artificially inflated property and rental hikes, painstakingly long hospital wait lists, lockdowns (Melburnians copped 260 days), border closures (QLD closed its border for 229 days) and policies that revealed a palpable dislocation between state and federal governments.
2021 didn’t quite spread the kumbaya we all needed. But, fine Tasmanian pinot noir helped blunt the pain as did sinking lower and lower into my caffeine addiction.
Anyway, Australia’s vax rates are high – we’re aiming for 90% double vaxxed for 12+ and it seems the target will be reached. Happy days ahead then, as more state borders and indeed international borders open.
What I wouldn’t give though to throw on my backpack and head off overseas. But, I’m staking my claim on 2023 as the year I take a ride on a big jet plane.
This challenging covid year has seen me take far too much interest in domestic politics. Making sense of a rapid revolving door of exits, arrivals, errors and backflips proved rather exhausting, so hoping for significant shifts at next year’s federal election. Interest is piqued in Simon Holmes a Court, whose support for independents and their much needed climate and integrity policies aligns nicely with the disenchanted.
2021 has also been quite the year for #metoo movement which grew in tsunami like strength thanks to Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins. One groomed by a male teacher, the other raped by a work colleague in the hallowed halls of Australia’s Parliament House, their stories left us reeling. And, then there’s Christian Porter and Allan Tudge. Accusations of abuse mean nothing will save them from being cast out into the political wilderness.
Aussie kids were in the spotlight this year and for all the wrong reasons. Chloe Smith abducted from the family tent while her parents slept inches away (miraculously found safe and well), William Tyrell (still missing) and then, the most crushing way to finish the year – the deaths of 6 children in Devonport Tasmania when a jumping castle took flight. Their last day of school before the six week summer holiday. Words are futile.
Also worth mentioning is that barely an Oz eyebrow lifted in surprise when Glasgow’s Climate Change Conference drew the world’s attention to our buoyant coal industry with its toxic emissions. The writing’s on the wall, the death knell’s sounded. Big changes lie ahead as we navigate a different energy ride.
Australia’s giddy roller-coaster ride of 2021 also included our perennial favourites: bushfires burning out of control, floods wreaking havoc and not far from home, lightning cracking over canefields. Yep…this is Australia in all its rawness and while I’d trade all my tomorrows for a single pre covid yesterday, there’s gratitude.
Family and friends are thankfully safe and while I’m bracing for a wobbly 2022, I intend to honour my New Year resolutions: the camper trailer needs a workout, beaches need to be walked, hills need to be hiked.
Keep safe everyone.