Jason Reynolds: Grab The Mic: Welcome to 2022

Ahem. Is this thing on? It is? Well …

Happy … New Year.

Here’s the thing: Screaming “Happy New Year” has felt so strange over the last few years because of everything going on. And I’ll be honest with you all: This year, my New Year’s Eve was spent lying on a beanbag in my house alone, binging a Netflix show. It came and went and there was a part of me that felt so exhausted by the last year — the last two years — that I didn’t even have the energy to welcome 2022 with cheer. Well, that’s not the only reason. I think I also have become a bit nervous about being joyous about the new year just because life still seems to be in a strange knot, one that seems to be tightening due to what seems to be an immortal virus. Oof. But on New Year’s Day, I woke up and realized … I woke up. Again. And even though it’s been a complicated time, joy is still not only possible, but … inevitable. It’s coming. Because it has to. And guess why it has to? Guess?

Because I say so.

That’s how it works. We choose it. We go searching for it. We reach for it and hold onto it as tightly as possible. But we have to decide that it’s so.

Know what it reminds me of? Trying to hold water. I know, strange transition, but go with me.

If you’ve ever tried to hold water, you know that it’s such a strange experience because it never actually feels like you’re holding anything. And then when you open your hands, the water drips out and now you’re holding nothing. So the question is, how do we keep water in our hands? Well, we keep it there by trusting it’s actually there. And if we believe it’s there, we just hold it tighter. There’s no need to check and see. There’s no need to doubt it because doubt will leave us empty-handed. That’s what we have to do with joy this year.

It’s there for us. It’s in us and around us and we just have to trust that. Which means as we enter into this new year, and we wish people a Happy New Year, we have to mean it despite our circumstances. We have to trust that the newness of the year guarantees happiness, and that our belief that it belongs to us will make it so that Happy Old Year will be an accurate statement.

So buck up, Buttercup. We’re still here. Laughter still lives in us. Beauty still blossoms around us. Love has never lost and is even more infectious than you-know-what.

I love you, and Happy Happy Happy New Year.

Jason

To learn more about Jason Reynolds, who began a historic third year as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature on January 1, check out his Library of Congress Resource Guide. You can also look out for new installments of Jason Reynolds’s GRAB THE MIC Newsletter, now occurring quarterly.

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6 Comments

  1. Virginia Howard
    January 10, 2022 at 4:53 pm

    There are few things one can actually hold and hold forever, but faith is one. May this year be a sweet one for you.

  2. Cate Munch
    January 11, 2022 at 5:42 pm

    Leaning into what makes life real, what brings joy, and what connects is the assignment. Lucky us!

  3. Nuzhat Khatoon
    January 11, 2022 at 8:22 pm

    I spent the new year at home with my husband. No excitement, felt like any other day. I embrace Jason’s optimism. Time keeps on running, whether happy or unhappy. Better to be happy.

  4. Kathleen Evans
    January 18, 2022 at 8:42 am

    What if we are not meant to even hold water? What if the lesson is just to savor that moment and let it go? To be thankful that for a moment it flowed through our fingers? Either way, my word going into 2022 is “Savor”.

    Happy New Year to all!

  5. Kathy Graybeal
    January 31, 2022 at 3:18 pm

    Yes, yes, yes, yes. Let hope thrive again.

  6. Alfred Mackey
    March 9, 2022 at 2:40 pm

    New Airport (03.09.22) – I might claim I had lunch with you, in fact we never spoke (just sitting 4 chair apart), needless the say, I’m very impressed with your work and wish you and your loved ones continued blessing!

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