Last Words on 2021 from Carolyn Gilbert

New year 2021. White digits from split flap Airport letters on black background, banner.


  • How can it be December already? Where did 2021 go?
  • We have been living in COVID world forever.

It’s fascinating how we can simultaneously think about how quickly time flies and how interminable phases of our lives can be.  That is certainly true of the last two years.

We live with the delusion that we’re in control.  We work very hard to control everything we can in our immediate worlds.  Deep down, we know that beyond what we might eat for dinner and what we choose to wear on a given day, we have little control over much of anything.  The past two years have certainly brought that knowledge to the forefront.  The feeling that we’ve been straddling two sides of an earthquake fault, waiting to see which side to lean to, as we avoid falling into the chasm, has been palpable.

Many among our own staff at NuVoodoo spent over a year working more than fulltime jobs from home, while trying to encourage “learning” (read: “Please stay in your chair and pay attention to what the teacher in the Zoom call is asking you to do.”) among small children, all the while asking the questions:

  • Will I get sick?
  • Will someone in my family get sick?
  • Will there be a business in six months?
  • If there’s no business, how will I pay my bills?
  • If I can’t pay my bills, how will I care for my kids?
  • What will the future be like?
  • Will COVID world ever end?
  • Will things ever get back to “normal”?
  • There are people who were in our lives who have succumbed to this plague. There is world-wide grief over this fact alone.
  • All the while, the “normal” global uncertainties remain: War, violence, the economy, political turmoil, etc., etc. and so forth.


It’s no wonder that we all feel so stressed.  It’s no wonder that we’ve seen over-reactions to seemingly small challenges among people, on our team and off, who expect so much of themselves.  People are downright testy.  It’s no wonder that small errors turn into (perceived) giant failures, bringing to the forefront the knowledge that we really don’t have control over the world around us.  The only thing that we might be able to muster is how we feel about it and how we deal with it.  So much easier said than done …

It’s easy to pontificate about woulda shoulda coulda.  If you woulda been calmer, you coulda avoided that error.  You should calm down.  You should take it less seriously.

And that’s all ridiculous.  The most I would suggest is to be a little more tolerant of errors in ourselves, and perhaps in others too.  Again, so easy to say; so hard to do.

Patience is running thin.  Few of us have ever been through a time like this before.  All I can say to that is, think back in history and think about how much worse things have been, and look around the world and consider how much worse things are for others.  And try to breathe.

As I find that ubiquitous knot in my own stomach after almost two years of this, the best I can do is realize that life has always been uncertain.  I’ve never been in control.  Perhaps the best I can do is try to be grateful, as 2021 ends, for the amazing people in my life, a business that seems to have survived this trauma (at least for now), the health of those around me and an abundance of food, shelter and clothing that many in the world have never been able to take for granted.

To those in my life who I love, know that I love you.

To friends, thank you for being there.  We have all figured out who they are in our lives – and how important they are.

To those in our company, please know how grateful I am to you for your adaptability, your integrity, your passion and your commitment to excellence.

To our clients and friends, thank you.  We owe you so much and couldn’t be more grateful for your loyalty.

It has never been more apparent how much we need each other, and how important it is to show gratitude for what has been, and understand, as we move forward, that what is to be remains a mystery.  It’s always been that way.  All we have is now, and if now is okay, then perhaps we should just feel okay about that.  (There’s that “should” word again – sorry!)

I come back to one of my favorite quotations, from, of all people, Helen Keller:

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you fail to make the turn.”

Our driving skills have certainly been tested of late.

Our wish for you is both a coming straight-away and continued access to power steering.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukkah and heartfelt wishes for a healthy and happy 2022.