SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — 2021 was a year filled with uncertainty for many families as they struggled through another year with the COVID-19 pandemic. People are hoping 2022 replaces that uncertainty with clarity about a brighter future.

Denise Houchin of Sioux Falls considers 2021 to be a very good year, even after still feeling the lingering effects of COVID-19.

“I was infected early in the March of 2020 and had long-term symptoms, so 2021 brought my healing. I was finally healed after almost 11 months of breathing and heart issues. So, it’s been a great year for that to walk in that freedom of health,” Houchin said.

The pandemic is very much on the minds of this brunch crowd at Josiah’s in downtown Sioux Falls as they reflect upon the year coming to a close.

“It’s brought division, it’s brought healing, it’s run the gamut,” Houchin said.

2021 was a year of frequent flying for Air Force Staff Sergeant Spencer Parmelee. He’s on leave visiting his family in Sioux Falls after a busy year of travel due to the coronavirus.

“I traveled for training for medical training. I went four months in California, two months in Ohio, four months in Texas and it was difficult because it was supposed to be all at once in one location. But with COVID, it made me travel a lot more because they couldn’t do the training all at one time because of guidance and restrictions,” Parmelee said.

Glenn Fenwick is on the road a lot and expects 2021 to end on a high note, financially. He runs a limousine service that will be busy taking revelers to-and-from their New Year’s Eve destinations.

“The best thing to do is get rides home so you don’t drive drunk. Busy, busy, busy time of year,” Fenwick said.

South Dakotans are generally an optimistic group. So, despite all the challenges from the past year, they’re looking forward to a much brighter 2022.

Alan Johnson and Kaitlynn Berwald have a big life event planned for next year.

“Hopefully, we’re getting married in 2022, yeah,” Berwald said.

“Show the ring,” Johnson said.

“We haven’t even told her family yet,” Johnson said.

“Surprise,” Berwald said.

The couple got engaged last week but setting a date might be a challenge.

“Because of the pandemic, I know that other couples had to postpone their wedding. I feel like it’s a year of catch-up. So yeah, we’ll see what day’s available,” Berwald said.

Predicting what will happen in 2022 is a tall order during a pandemic that’s been so unpredictable.

“A prediction? I love even numbers, so I think it’s going to be a great year. But that didn’t work well for 2020, so, I’m not sure,” Krista Youngberg of Sioux Falls said.

“2022? My wife and I are going to get pregnant. That’s what I’m looking forward to. We’re going to have a baby,” Parmelee said.

“What I think is going to happen seldom does and what I don’t expect, happens,” Houchin said.

Expecting the unexpected is one way to transition into a new year, and a fresh start.

“New hope, new life for 2022. I hope it’s a good year,” Johnson said.

Most of the people we talked with are bullish on the economy for 2022. But they say so much of the economic recovery is dependent upon getting a handle on the coronavirus.