2021, Now What?


2021, Now What?

I celebrated the end of 2020 probably like most of you, at home and differently than any other New Year’s Eves past. This has been a challenging, trying, exhausting year with some really great things mixed in with all the hard stuff. I was so ready to put 2020 to bed and ring in 2021, as if a magical change would happen overnight as we enter the new year.

I think that is probably wishful thinking, but we can only hope 2021 brings us back to something that seems more “normal.”

2020 was a year in which politics came into play no matter what side you were on. It was a year in which we questioned what was the “right” thing to do about everything — work, school, life, social events, travel. We (hopefully) were all trying in our own way to do the “right” thing. As we embark on this new year, I’ve thought about what I will carry with me into the new year and what I hope to let go.

In 2021, I hope to bring with me:

1) An appreciation for downtime with my family.

I spent more time this year with my kids, my husband, my parents, and my sisters and their families than I ever had in the past. We had so much fun talking, playing, and just enjoying each other’s company.

2) Dinners at home.

The kids have really come to love the time at home, and it has become a preference to just hang out, relax and eat dinner together. Whether we order dinner from a local restaurant or (gasp!) cook, the relaxed time together has been really nice.

3) The ability to work and see my patients.

While the time off during the shut down was different and fun in some ways, this year has made me appreciate being able to work and see patients. I could not have ever fathomed closing my office for seven weeks; having to do so gave me a renewed appreciation for seeing patients and doing what I love doing every day. I will not ever take that for granted.

4) Athleisure wear.

While I’m ready to dress up for a night out, I have come to love changing from pjs to sweat pants on the weekend, knowing that I’m not really doing anything special all day. Like, literally, doing NOTHING all day. I have discovered some super comfy things like Vuori joggers, and there is no turning back for me.

5) Enjoying the great outdoors.

We have had to get creative this year for entertainment, and our family has definitely spent more time outside than any other year. Whether it’s hiking or time at the lake or the pool, we have spent so much time outside.

6) An understanding that your “right” way of doing things might not apply to everyone, but for the most part we are all trying to do our best.

This was a difficult year to navigate, but watching everyone I know and love trying to do their best for their family and their personal situation, gave me such hope. I hope to carry with me into 2021 the understanding that although everyone’s “right” way of doing things might look a little different depending on their circumstances, for the most part, we all have good intentions. We all tried to take the information we had and do what was best for our family and community. I firmly believe that goodness and overarching concern for humanity is so critical as we go forward. The divisiveness pushing people apart can stay in 2020.

What I plan to leave behind in 2020:

1) A lack of concerts.

I love live music. I have hope that we will get back to live music, concerts, and festivals in 2021. I think one of the saddest things about 2020 was Moon River Fest getting canceled. It is such a fun time to enjoy live music and be with friends and neighbors.

2) Zoom meetings, virtual school, and virtual anything.

Just yuck. There is nothing good about any of this. I love real life teachers and real life meetings. If it can’t be a real life meeting, it should be an email. And virtual school?? Oh my gosh, teachers are amazing, and I need my kids to be with them in person.

3) Online shopping.

I appreciate the convenience of online shopping, but there is nothing like seeing things in person, being able to try on clothes, the kids being able to touch and play with the toys at Learning Express. If we lose these local stores, we do not get them back. In 2021, I will continue to support our local businesses that have struggled so much the past year.

4) Fist bumps, elbow taps, and six-foot showings of affection.

I miss hugs. I’m not even a hugger, but I want to be able to hug people when they are hurting. I want to be able to embrace a friend I haven’t seen in a while. I want to shake hands with a stranger I’ve just met. I need all of this back.

5) Masks.

I am hopeful that with the vaccine getting distributed, a better understanding of how the virus works and time, we will be able to live in a world without masks everywhere we go. I’m so, so tired of masks. (Disclaimer: I’m not anti-mask and will continue to wear them everywhere I go; I just won’t be sad to see them go.)

6) Guilt.

Hopefully, as we get a better handle on things over the course of this year, we will not constantly have to feel guilt about gathering with friends and family, question whether we should have a wedding or funeral, and wonder if the small birthday party we had for our kid was a bad idea.

7) Being “stuck” at home.

I have appreciated the down time, and this year has made me understand that sometimes I packed my schedule a little too tightly, but I will get back to going on adventures. I haven’t been on a plane in over a year. I haven’t gone anywhere out of driving distance. I haven’t taken my kids to see anything new this year. There is so much world out there, and so much to see beyond our little bubble. I will get back to adventuring.

8) The “New Normal.”

This is something I am wholeheartedly leaving behind in 2020. This. Is. Not. The. New. Normal. Absolutely not. 2020 was a year of unprecedented uncertainty and changes, but it is not our new normal. It’s not.

We will get our lives back.

We will hug friends.

We will have birthday parties and weddings.

Our kids will play sports and high five at the end of the championship game. We will sit at a dinner table with a big group of friends.

We will lay on a blanket and listen to Drew and Ellie Holcomb sing at Coolidge Park with our neighbors while the kids play in the grass.

We will see each other’s faces without masks and embrace when we see pain or rejoice together for the happy times.

We will sit at lunch with our coworkers and not worry we might get sick. We will light candles at Christmas Eve service and stand close together and sing O Holy Night.

Our kids will play together at recess and be allowed to touch each other.

We will gather with our neighbors and have a party — a big one. We will sit in a restaurant and enjoy the company of friends.

We will have a birthday party and invite 50 people, and our biggest worry will be how much cake to buy.

We will gather with our family for all the holidays and get back to funny gift exchanges and arguing over who brings the turkey.

2021, I’ve got high hopes for you. Don’t let me down.