A little-recognized quirk of producing a monthly magazine is that, to satisfy the schedule of the printing press and make it to newsstands on time, we write and edit our stories weeks in advance and hope our words are still relevant when issues reach readers. It’s early December as I type this, and the news that the omicron variant has reached the United States—including Colorado—is ubiquitous. We all knew it was only a matter of time before delta gained a so-called variant-of-concern sibling, and maybe, right now, we’re just relieved that scientists don’t think this highly mutated version is more deadly than other known variants. But relief isn’t the same thing as hope or excitement or whatever it is that a new year once engendered in us, and I wonder if that swell of optimism is something we can recapture for 2022.

I pray it is. Not just because we’ve compiled a list of 42 Things To Do In Colorado In 2022 that we want you to be enthusiastic about experiencing, but also because, if anyone out there feels as I do (see: Two Years Of Solitude), it’s simply time to find a path that leads out of the malaise wrought by 2020 and 2021.

There’s no way to divine the course of omicron. There’s also no epidemiological crystal ball that can foretell if a pi or rho or sigma variant is coming. And there’s precious little we can do anyway, except mask up, get vaccinated, and encourage others to do so, too. The lack of control is both difficult and maddening. But perhaps it can also be freeing? That notion is something I’ve been noodling on as I think about what 2022 will look like. Can I just let go? Can I stop being scared? Sad? Indignant? Can I find a reason to be cheerful about the year ahead? I hope so. And I hope you can, too. Here’s to a very happy new year.