The month of January is named after the ancient Roman god Janus. The Romans revered him as the god of gates and transitions, and often depicted Janus with two faces. One looked into the past. The other faced the future.
For some, the start of a new year may be just another date on the calendar. But like the mythological deity for which it’s named, January always seems like a good time to reflect on the previous year and look forward to the year to come.
With that in mind, we asked Brick & Elm’s regular contributors to share a little about their 2021 and any goals they have for 2022. We enjoyed their responses and we think you will, too. Happy New Year!
What’s one thing you’re grateful for related to 2021? Finding new challenges and excitement in my position as senior communications specialist at West Texas A&M University, particularly as we’ve launched the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. Fundraising isn’t a foreign territory for me, but I’ve never been around a campaign anywhere near this big before. (And keeping my toe in my beloved Amarillo arts/entertainment scene through Brick & Elm has been better than I could have ever expected.)
What resolutions or goals do you have in mind for 2022? To find new ways to be more involved in my community. I’m proud that Amarillo is my home, and now that I’m not a full-time journalist, I have more freedom to make a mark in different ways.
Andy Chase Cundiff
Columnist & Illustrator
What’s one thing you’re grateful for related to 2021? I’m sincerely grateful for the series of blessings that have helped us survive this difficult year and come out with a smile. These include my friends and family—especially my beautiful and super-powered wife—and our church family.
What resolutions or goals do you have in mind for 2022? I try to set goals for artistic productivity. The year 2022 will see, hopefully, at least the beginning of a new album release.
What’s one thing you’re grateful for related to 2021? I am so grateful for my health and the health of my family and friends. I am incredibly grateful for my pets—Sadie, Gwen, Carl and Evie. I have a feeling that 2020 and 2021 would’ve been even worse without them by my side. I am also grateful for the fact that I was able to finally get back in front of a classroom at Amarillo College again and teach students in real life.
What resolutions or goals do you have in mind for 2022? One of my resolutions is to have a booth at the Amarillo Community Market next summer. I picked up embroidery for the first time since middle school during the pandemic and it has been a great way to relieve stress and focus my mind on other things. I embroidered a portrait of my best friend for her birthday and it made her tear up when I gave it to her. So, I’ve continued to work on pieces for other people and just for fun. I went to a community market in Albuquerque over fall break and there was a booth with tons of embroidery pieces. Even if I don’t sell any of my own, I love meeting new people and I think it’ll be a really fun experience.
What’s one thing you’re grateful for related to 2021? I am extremely grateful for June (my sweetheart) and my friends who make my life so much richer. The greatest wealth anyone has is their relationships and in that I am rich beyond measure.
What resolutions or goals do you have in mind for 2022? 2021 was one of the busiest professional years of my life—which took me by surprise—but that busy work schedule got in the way of many of my creative projects, which I want to make sure that I cull out time for every day. During the pandemic, I stopped doing public art shows. I want to do several in 2022, and already have a few on the books.
What’s one thing you’re grateful for related to 2021? I am so grateful to continue to be self-employed in a creative field where I am lucky to work with other creative folks. The luck of continuing to thrive during a pandemic is not lost on me. My business has not only survived, but grown, and I wake up everyday just blown away by the support.
What resolutions or goals do you have in mind for 2022? The past few years I have been gentle with myself in not setting myself up for failure with traditional resolutions that involve a gym or dieting. I know my willpower well enough to know how those turn out! The most I put on myself is work-related. In 2020, I had the goal to score one magazine cover and I exceeded that. In 2021, I gave myself the goal of three magazine covers and I managed to knock that out pretty quickly. For 2022, I have set similar goals for myself that push me a little farther, but I’ll keep those goals secret in the hope I don’t jinx anything.
What’s one thing you’re grateful for related to 2021? I have learned growth is an uncomfortable yet necessary component of life and it could occur in myriad ways.
What resolutions or goals do you have in mind for 2022? My goals in 2022 are to become far more appreciative of the twists and turns within my life’s journey, and to do all I can to love and respect others who may have their own unexpected set of circumstances to endure.
What’s one thing you’re grateful for related to 2021? It is extremely hard to choose only one thing I am grateful for in 2021, but I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing magazine.
What resolutions or goals do you have in mind for 2022? One New Year’s goal I have for 2022 is to focus on my passion—photography—by getting out to shoot more, getting out of my comfort zone, and creating amazing images.
What’s one thing you’re grateful for related to 2021? I am thankful for the opportunity to shine light on the positive things happening around Amarillo. In a world filled with negativity, it is so refreshing to be part of the Brick & Elm team, where we see the best side of the community.
What resolutions or goals do you have in mind for 2022? I’m not big on setting yearly resolutions, but I do always try to create a list of books I would like to read for the year. It’s my way of setting aside time for myself away from a screen!
Lauren & Jeremy Pawlowski
What’s one thing you’re grateful for related to 2021? 2021 brought a lot of changes for us, and we are thankful for all of them. We had our first child and we moved back to the Panhandle from the Pacific Northwest. We could make a list a mile long about the good this past year has brought us; but what we are most grateful for is to be back in a place that has such a great sense of community, for our sake and our child’s.
What resolutions or goals do you have in mind for 2022? Our New Year’s Resolution for 2022 is to become more embedded in the local community. Being away from the Panhandle for over a decade has us back in a place that has changed so much since we left. There are so many talented creatives in this area that we hope to collaborate with. Oh, and to work on our posture.
What’s one thing you’re grateful for related to 2021? I’m grateful for losing my grip, if just a little. In 2021, I gained a small bit of control over the urge to control, and in the process, life feels richer than ever before. Maybe it’s the persistence of a pandemic that resists my pleas to go away. Or perhaps I’m just getting older and slightly less stupid.
What resolutions or goals do you have in mind for 2022? I resolve to do things for myself and others without fear of doing them poorly. To become a pathological liar when I look in the mirror, fabricating tall tales of my brilliance and good looks. There’s a psychological term for that and I resolve to not know it.
What’s one thing you’re grateful for related to 2021? That I and immediate family have stayed healthy and well despite the crazy state of affairs the world has seen.
What resolutions or goals do you have in mind for 2022? Hopefully to travel more and go places that have been on our destination list.
Mental Health Columnist
What’s one thing you’re grateful for related to 2021? I am thankful for the wonderful people who live in our community, and for our outstanding local health care professionals, who not only helped me overcome a life-threatening situation, but assisted loved ones and others in our community to overcome their challenges as well.
What resolutions or goals do you have in mind for 2022? To work each day toward becoming a better person than I was the day before.
Founder & Publisher
What’s one thing you’re grateful for related to 2021? Pandemic aside, this has been a weird year. I’ve had major career successes like launching this magazine. And proud parenting successes, like my daughter’s graduation from WTAMU and my son’s first semester at Texas A&M. But health-wise, it’s been a really difficult year for my family. More than anything, I’m grateful for all my loved ones, which includes my family by blood and my chosen family of close friends.
What resolutions or goals do you have in mind for 2022? I don’t love the concreteness of “resolution.” A softer term is “intentions” and I have a few of those: reading a lot of books, staying in decent shape, traveling a little more with my wife Aimee, and continuing the growth of Brick & Elm.
Founder & Publisher
What’s one thing you’re grateful for related to 2021? Relationships. In 2021, I found myself surrounded by the love and support of my family and friends. So many people have encouraged me and helped me as we launched Brick & Elm. It has been a truly overwhelming and humbling experience. I am having a blast with pretty much the best co-publisher and creative team ever!
What resolutions or goals do you have in mind for 2022? I gave up on New Year’s resolutions years ago. I’m already too goal-driven and hard on myself as it is! I enjoy and need peace in my everyday life, and will continue to work on restoring my mind by enjoying my family, reading, staying fit and eating well.