Well, it’s 2022. There’s no point in trying to capture 2021 in a few pithy words; everyone’s years are different depending on what happened in their personal lives. 2021 will have been a year with varying degrees of triumph and tragedy, wins and losses, fun and drudgery–all against the backdrop of COVID-19 and the continuing impact of the pandemic on our daily lives. By the time December 31 rolled around, my guess is that most of us were ready for 2021 to end and to turn the page to what we hope will be a new, and better, chapter.
If you’re a resolution maker, go ahead and make those resolutions to exercise more, eat less, quit smoking, step away from social media obsession, and finally make whatever other fundamental changes to your lives that you think need to be made. Why not? It can’t hurt, and a few weeks or a month of resolution-keeping–which tends to be the standard shelf life for resolutions–is better than nothing. And if you manage to keep those resolutions for the entire year, you can savor a real accomplishment.
If you’re not a resolution maker, appreciate the fact that you made it past another milestone into another year. That wasn’t true for many people. And the past two years haven’t been easy ones, from a big-picture perspective. Maintaining a positive viewpoint and going about our lives without being driven into a fetal position by scary headlines, testing angst, and breathless announcements of new COVID variants is an achievement in and of itself. Congratulations!
On to 2022, folks! May everyone have a happy new year!
Well, at certain points we thought it would never get here, but it did. The end of 2020 is staring us in the face. I’m fairly confident that, during my lifetime at least, no end of the year has ever been as eagerly anticipated as the end of 2020.
And, along the same lines, it’s safe to say that no new year is ever going to look better by comparison to the year just ended, and get more of the benefit of the doubt, than 2021. 2021 is like the proverbial second-string quarterback who suddenly becomes the fan favorite as the starting quarterback struggles and finally gets benched.
I’m a firm believer in using the end of the year period, when things typically slow down for everyone and holiday time arrives, to do some reflection on the year gone by and some thinking about the year ahead. Just because 2020 has been dismal doesn’t mean it should be promptly thrown down the memory hole, never to be thought of again. Those of us who made it through the year have reason to feel that our mere survival, with health and sanity intact, is a meaningful achievement. And many people used the shutdown periods to develop new hobbies or interests, to read more, to focus on cooking, or to volunteer to help out front-line health care workers. And even those of us who didn’t become fluent in a new language probably acquired a useful perspective on what is really important in our lives.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m as glad as anyone to turn the page on the calendar and see luckless 2020 in the rearview mirror, and I’m obviously hoping that 2021 will be the year that sees things return to what we used to call normal. But as I consider 2020, there are some things that I will want to remember, and hopefully build upon. It’s been a year that we all won’t soon forget, but it’s important to remember the positives as well as the negatives.
I had a bad dream last night, cried out in my sleep, and woke Kish up. As I rolled over to try to go back to sleep, I looked at the clock and noticed it was precisely 2 a.m. It’s probably not a coincidence that 2 a.m. is the specific time that Daylight Savings Time ended, and the clocks were being set back an hour. My subconscious may have sensed that and cried out in horror at the thought of adding an hour to 2020. As I went around the house today, changing the clocks, I decided that the experience should be memorialized in bad verse:
When I went in to the office yesterday, to work there for the first time since March, I saw that my 2021 calendars had been delivered — and I was thrilled to see them.
Getting my new work calendars so I can keep track of my schedule in the coming months is one of those very basic ministerial elements of work. There’s nothing particularly remarkable about it — until now. Never before do I remember having such a happy reaction to seeing this tangible evidence that a new year is coming. I felt like the Steve Martin character in The Jerk overreacting to the delivery of phone books with his name in them.
I would make this suggestion to people who are looking to do some early holiday shopping: if you want to buy people a gift that you can be confident will bring a smile to their faces, get them 2021 calendars. And don’t be surprised if the calendars sell out quickly, either. We may see a surge in demand for new calendars the likes of which we haven’t experienced before.