How many of us have been counting down the days to 2021? How many of us have just survived the worst year of our lives? I am so ready for the new year! We are like snakes, ready to cast off the old, dead skin and slither into a better life.
I think about December, 2019, and our last Christmas with my late husband, Jerry. He was sick then, not doing well with his cancer, but we had seen a miraculous remission before, and we had hope. Despite that, we all suspected that this was Jerry’s last Christmas, although no one talked about it. We bought a cut tree and I decorated the whole house. We entertained our family, including a baby great-grandson, and had a wonderful time together. This year I did not decorate, but enjoyed looking out the window at my neighbors’ lights and decorations. We had our family Christmas in Raleigh. We loved being together, but we were always aware that Covid-19 could be lurking.
What do we have to look forward to in 2021? Vaccine! At some point we will all be vaccinated for the coronavirus, at least those of us who are willing. The disease will no longer be something we have to fear, and we won’t have to endure daily updates on how many people have died. We should be able to go out, mingle with others as we choose, eat at any restaurant we like, and hopefully go back to life as we once knew it. Trump will no longer be president, and (if we’re lucky) we will no longer have to endure any news of him. I look forward, actually, to ignoring politics in 2021. I will save a lot of time when I do that, and it is an opportunity to live in a more loving way.
Many of us have traditionally considered the new year a time to initiate self-improvement projects: lose weight, read more, write a book, take classes, be kinder, eschew politics, etc. Usually, these resolutions don’t last long. What might make 2021 different? Some people had enough time to work on those things already. Forced to stay home, others discovered how creative they were, and some families got closer. A couple of my resolutions are to be more compassionate and to work to be closer to all my family.
A big difference in 2021 will be freedom! We’ll have a lot more choices in how to spend our time, and where we can go and who we can see. At some point, we can abandon our masks. I will be able to wear lipstick again! I want to travel and visit places I have only read about. I feel like the whole world is opening up to me.
My optimist self says it’s about time for all of us to enjoy the good things we anticipate are coming in this blank slate of a new year. As I lived through 2020, I always knew it was going to get better, and it could always be worse. Yes, my husband died in February, and I had to endure intense loneliness along with my grief. But I am here. I did not get Covid, and no one close to me did either. I am emerging from my grief with profound gratitude for the life I do have, and the people who have helped me along the way, many unbeknownst to themselves. Dare I say it? Life is good.