New Year's Perspective

An Irish proverb to see us through the gray skies of 2022

December sky in Dublin. Daniel Cleary/YJI

DUBLIN – Last year, my reflection on 2020 was somewhat bleak. I looked forward to 2021 with a mixture of hope and trepidation. Going into 2022 is somewhat similar.

From an Irish point of view, 2021 was a better year of the pandemic. We got very close to fully open during the summer and many people escaped for a holiday getaway. 

But the feeling here now is, unfortunately, more than a touch of déjà vu. With the arrival of omicron in the last few weeks, we have been given a harsh reminder that covid-19 is still very much present in our lives.

On December 29, 2020, there were 1,718 positive cases of covid reported in Ireland. On the same day in 2021, there were 16,428.

This time last year, vaccines were only coming onto the scene and we prayed they would bring an end to this dreadful pandemic.

Three vaccines later, I sit writing this reflection looking at an uncertain future again.

I hope that 2022 will spell the end of covid-19’s devastating effect on all areas of our lives. But the truth is, we just don’t know.

We are all tired of it at this stage but all we can do is soldier on.

Last year, I mentioned one of my favorite old Irish proverbs, “‘An áit mbíonn an dólás an sólás ina aice,” which translates to, “Where there is sorrow, there is solace closeby.”

This year did, at times, provide us with a reprieve from the reality of covid, while at other times provided us with a stark reminder that it is still with us. 

We will get through this. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is the incredible resilience which we as humans possess.

I’d like to leave you with another ‘seanfhocal’ to ponder. 

Is ait an mac an saol.” This essentially means that life is strange, but the word “mac” actually means “son,” so its literal translation is that life is a strange son.

Son is a term of endearment frequently used in Ireland and thus, the metaphor here insinuates that while life is strange, it is a friend.

The good times will return, we just need to hold on. 

Daniel Cleary is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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