How did 2021 look like for you?

So, thank you 2021. It’s been a pretty great trip around the sun. Now let’s see what 2022 has to offer

By Malavika Varadhan

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Published: Fri 17 Dec 2021, 3:12 AM

Why is it that as we approach this time of the year, one gets into this end-of-year-appraisal mode? Whether or not you believe in new year resolutions and such, it’s hard to shake off this reflective mood.

To me, it’s often a time, when (prompted by “wrapped playlists on Spotify, and your year recapped posts on social media”, I process what the year has been for me. The winnings, the failings, the missed targets, the moments of laughter, the big holidays, the significant purchases, the memorable events, the heartbreaks and new entrants of the year — all in neat piles.

It doesn’t all happen on a single day, but instead trickles through like a coffee filter in its own time — brewed in time for a new year night.

For me, personally, 2021 has been a year where friendship, laughter and simplicity have taken the lead roles.

2021 will be remembered as the year of Expo in Dubai. For many of us, walking into the Expo site, seeing those massive structures reminded us that a) we could recover from the worst year of our lives and build beautiful things in record time — if we chose to; and b) that the future is full of hope, collaboration and opportunity.

As I watched those long lines of school children crane their necks to look up at the roofs of Sustainable City and talk about renewable energy with the same excitement that we spoke of the Internet 25 years ago, I knew that the planet was in safe hands. These kids care, and they will figure a way to get the world to too.

2021 was the year that Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson went to space, for fun. But it was also the year we finally got to go back home and meet the people we love the most. Life lesson: given a choice between going to space and going to my home city to see my parents again, I would probably pick the latter — and thank God, we still have human connections that make us feel that way.

2021 was the year that Kamala Harris became VP of the US, but it was also the year a young, Indian girl stood in front of her TV screen and saw the possibility come alive, to see where the expat dream could go.

2021 was the year of Squid Game, (which I still have not watched, by the way). It was also the year we saw more diversity than ever before in entertainment. Representation matters, and we haven’t gotten there yet, or even halfway there — but we certainly are moving in the right direction. Stories are the way we first fix the world’s problems, and our stories are finally beginning to change.

2021 was the year of Zuckerberg going Meta. But it was also the year that so many of us finally woke up to the truth behind how much our attention is worth — how so much of what we think, feel and do is being controlled by technology. Maybe we aren’t using our phones less yet, but we will — soon, someday. And there is no taking away that we have woken up to that truth.

So, thank you 2021. It’s been a pretty great trip around the sun. Now let’s see what 2022 has to offer.

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