Commentary: Welcome to 2022

Every New Year’s Day provides a new perspective on the world. It gives us the opportunity to reset ourselves and start off on a new foot towards a better year.

You probably have some resolutions. That’s great. If you can keep them up beyond today, you got a chance to accomplish something you always wanted to do.

Just make sure that if you skip out on the fitness center you just joined for the rest of the year to please cancel your membership. You don't want to deal with that recurring charge on your credit or debit card, do you?

In years past, I used to think in terms of goals at this time of year. It’s always good to have them, but what if you don’t meet those goals by the end of the year? Do you spiral into a series of emotional health episodes doing so? I know I had in the past.

So, how do I see myself in 2022? Like most years of late, l would take the approach of the year being a fluid situation. Meaning that things will have to come organically, without any set plans. However, there are a couple of factors that will come into play to navigate this new year. One will be how we manage the continuing COVID-19 pandemic situation. The other will be my overall health.

There are too many discussions about how transmissible the Omicron variant is, as well as how it is testing the patience of our global healthcare system and society at large. The obvious answer to how to end this cycle of COVID-19 is within reach, but there still too many people who refuse to do anything about it.

Without getting too controversial, I want to believe that we can stop this viscous cycle and end this pandemic sometime in 2022. There are many of us who would love to simply get to back a pre-pandemic "normal," such as to travel freely or do anything social without the fear of catching this virus.

I don't really need to do this, but I wanted to state for the record that I have been tested negative for the virus. Later this month, I will finally get my booster shot. However, the virus is not why I am concerned about my overall health.

From the issues regarding my vertebrae, I still have plenty of healing to do. It will be based on what the care teams will determine what my next steps are. I can say that I had my ups and downs since I had these issues initially, but I still press on.

What happens this month with follow-up visits will determine how this year will go. That is the best way I can put this situation for me in terms of how 2022 will play out.

It does throw a wrench in some plans. Traveling is out. I will not be able to work the Chicago Auto Show in February. Nor would I be able to present #VOTY2021 in person to Mitsubishi.

I can still work with vehicles. As long as my vertebrae issues improve, I will be able to feel confident to test these vehicles to the fullest before my hospitalization. It is good thing that I find driving pleasurable without pain or soreness.

Believe me, there is a list of automobiles I would love to cover in 2022. Recently, I asked in my social media channels for some ideas. The ideas you came up with range from “that’ll never happen” to “yep, I have that in mind.” While a Pagani is rare for even the Twin Cities, the Ford Maverick is something I would love to present to you. I also hope to work with a Ford Bronco, Toyota Corolla Cross, the newest Honda Civic…to name a few.

One storyline you suggested was to go deeper into electric cars. That may be a bit trickier than one would think. As much as we built an audience with you, some manufacturers might not see a return on investment than others when it comes to EVs. Access to working in our base of operations is another challenge due to transportation of battery-electric vehicles and the costs involved for the manufacturer. There are other ways around this, but do not expect a flood of EV reviews from me in 2022.

The principle I often operate as a media person is simple: If I can, I will.

One suggestion that came from you centers on an approach of creating “emotional content.” It is something that I try to do on here and somehow it shows to be a positive element for this site. The suggestion goes on about my “reviewing” a car from the past and putting into an experiential context.

I love that approach, but my driving other people’s vehicles is a tricky proposition. While I carry a commerical insurance policy for V&R, there is always the question of trust. Will an owner allow me to drive their vehicle? Sometimes, I may shy away from the opportunity since it is always my editorial policy not to drive those vehicles in respect of their owners.

An exception might be made. We’ll see. Though, I’m glad someone recognizes an approach that I take on content for this site.

This leads to other subject matter this site might take on during 2022. The supply chain situation will continue this year. Electric vehicles will continue to take center stage. With the rebirth of Fisker and the coming of Vinfast to our market, startups will also get a careful eye from us. Will the industry make another pivot as the pandemic continues into this year? Stay tuned…

Plus, we have some video content coming soon from us. Our videographer George has a couple of more projects that are being edited. Fun stuff, as well as informative subjects. Hopefully, you’re looking forward to watching them as we are!

Again, all of this falls back to “if I can, I will.” That will be driven by the two factors mentioned before. If this pandemic gets under control for good and my health improves back to a level of normal, then you can expect that the stories will flow from this site, our YouTube and TikTok channels, with greater ease.

It would be wonderful to do a road trip to another place I have yet to visit. I’m thinking of an automotive museum tour that could take me to Western Michigan (Gilmore) and Indiana (Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg and Studebaker). If these factors I mentioned earlier get under control and the willingness to do it is there – it will happen.

Here we are – 2022. And I must reiterate, "if f I can, I will."

All photos by Randy Stern

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