News & Politics

The Last Month of 2021 Is Here

How will you bid goodbye to this year?

Photograph by Jaimie Tuchman via iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Thirty-one days from now, we’ll be staring, bleary-eyed, at the first morning of 2022. Will it be worse than 2021? Probably. Years tend to get worse as you gain more perspective on them. The only recent exception is 2020, but there’s no reason 2022 couldn’t outpace it in awfulness. The Omicron variant could wipe out whatever modest gains we’ve made as a society and further delay any return to life as it used to be. A sure-to-be-nasty election looms. On the other hand, “subdued pops of color” may greet you in your living room. That should be nice.

But here you are, right now, with 31 days of December to fill, minus whatever time you’ve spent already this morning. Things should warm up this week, even as the Capital Weather Gang expects the winter ahead (which begins today, meteorologically) to careen between “springlike spikes and bone-chilling plunges.” I guess it’s something different, right?

Will the government shut down again? Apparently that’s under discussion, even though shutdowns tend to function, politically, like ACME products. The Supreme Court could end Roe v. Wade, though it could be June before there’s a ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. Congress has a bunch of stuff to do before the end of the year.

It’s probably better to focus on what you can actually affect. Giving Tuesday has passed, but you can still make a difference at local charities. Schedule yourself for loads of holiday fun. Ice-skating is back at the National Gallery!

Perhaps we’ll begin 2022 marinating in dissatisfaction and dread. But December 2021 is the task at hand, and you might as well look for a few subdued pops of color while you labor through it.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.