Welcome to 2022
Now that the holidays are over and the New Year is actually in motion, it is quiet enough for me to think about what has passed and what is to come.
This year, my first-born daughter will leave home for college, if all goes as planned. I expect the whole gamut of feelings from excitement to sadness - and I’m just talking about me. It’s going to be a huge change.
I’m pleased to say that I’m no longer a person who feels personally victimized by change – I’ve outgrown that particular character flaw. I’m not enlightened or even easygoing – but I attempt to take every day as it comes. I know tomorrow will look different, and that no moment or experience or feeling lasts forever.
The drastic changes we’ve experienced during the last two years weigh on my mind. One thing I’ve been proud to watch has been the way the parking industry, as represented within the pages of this magazine, has adapted, innovated and plowed through the loads of disruption it has encountered.
Every month during 2020 and 2021, I read about parking companies making adjustments to current events. They fed the hungry, housed the homeless, and made parking safer for staff and customers. They reconfigured their businesses and addressed their technology needs.
They worked together to mitigate the losses caused by a massive interruption in the patterns of daily life.
It wasn’t easy, but they did what they had to do.
Some people say we are never presented with trials we cannot handle. However, I believe we are often faced with difficulties we are not strong enough to manage. Difficulties that make us feel like we’ve evaporated; difficulties that we would give anything to circumvent.
We face these obstacles not because we are strong enough, or they are good for us, but because we have no other option. We go forward or give up. We dig in. We close our eyes and take steps; we find the last, tiniest molecule of fight left inside us and we keep going.
The other day, I saw a funny meme about the New Year. My teenagers have finally convinced me it’s acceptable to share memes. The whole point of a meme is to reduce a common experience to an image and a couple of lines of text, so it seems weird and redundant to summarize a meme, but they do it anyway, and now I do, too.
The meme was made up of a very confused-looking person’s face above the sentence, “When it’s 2022 and you’re still trying to process 2020.”
And, like so many memes do, this one hit me right in the feels.
I haven’t processed 2020 and I forget parts of 2021. Besides the fact that 2021 felt like two months and not twelve, it followed the most tumultuous and incomprehensible year of my life. I’ve had tough years, and I’ve had worse years than 2020, but I still can’t say exactly what made 2020 so hard.
Obviously, the pandemic, the entire landscape of life changing overnight, and the isolation were pretty devastating. But there was never just one crisis going on, there were many - 2020 was a slow burn of pain, loss, disorder, waiting, uncertainty, and watching my loved ones struggle to cope with the changes in their landscapes.
I’m well aware, too, that living in California made the experience harder. Interpret that as you choose. My mother-in-law, who lives in Idaho, said that after June 2020, things went on as normal for her, except she couldn’t visit us. And that boggled my mind.
We are all dealing with different challenges, different degrees of change, and different capacities for tolerating the ups and downs life throws at us.
If there are people in the parking industry still processing the last two years, I hope they see that survival was the name of the game. The upheaval was harder than anyone ever wanted to experience, and there were losses. Coming out stronger wasn’t the goal.
There are events in life that are hard and others that are cataclysmic. If you talk about an experience in terms of life before and life after, that’s how you know it was massive.
So, we don’t need to try to sum it up. We’ll just say goodbye and forge ahead. It was hard and we were bloodied. We honor that fight and that pain. We all went through it one way or another and that creates enormous solidarity and understanding.
Adapting, accepting, and staying upright were the priorities. If those things were accomplished, then victory was achieved.