Okay, so, I suppose, if I have a 2020 Christmas List last week, I should have a few New Years’ resolutions this week.
I know, I know — I’ve said before that I don’t believe in New Years’ Resolutions. But, if there’s anything 2020 has taught us, it may be that we just can’t count on things being the way we think they should be. So, maybe a departure from my norm is worth considering.
First of all, I resolve not be afraid. Fear is the little death… I will wear my mask and socially distance when I go out in public — but I will go out in public. I will teach the students who come to school and bring their instruments come Jan. 19. I will get the vaccine when it is made available to me. And then I will take off my mask and smile at the world and breathe the free air.
I think high on my list of resolutions this will be to not want, hope for or spend money on *things*. I haven’t missed things this year — I’ve missed people and experiences. So, 2021 will be a year for going out to dinner a little more, for taking the family to the movies, for having back yard barbecues every weekend and block parties all summer.
Something that 2020 taught me, and which I think would be wise for everybody to note, was that the first story is not always right. How many times this year did we see a news story that seemed like earth-shattering, huge news? And then how many times, come day two or day three, did we learn that the story wasn’t exactly what we thought it was? Or was even remotely close to what we were told it was on day one? So, this year, I’m going to wait until day two or three before I really believe what I’m told.
Related to that, I will reserve all outrage about anything I see on social media until I have seen it confirmed and explained by a source that generally disagrees with my world view.
In other words, let 2021 be the year we kick the trolls to the curb.
Another resolution I want to work on is one that one of my bosses has stressed this year: understand what you have control over, what you have influence over, and what is beyond your reach. Because, if you’re spending too much time and energy on that which is beyond your reach (politics, etc…) then you are allowing something else to have control over you. Marshal your energies smarter.
I’d love to break 90 this summer. That’s, obviously, trivial in the big picture, but… Sure would be an indicator of a summer well spent! I’ve done it a few times in my life, but it’s been a while, and I’d like to get back to having good, restful summers.
2020 has put extra strains on many systems and relationships this year. And, while it is true that adversity reveals character, rather than building it, I think it would be wise for all of us to take what happened in 2020 with an extra dose of understanding. Those people who snapped at you at the grocery store? They may have just found out that their business was being forced to close. That family that couldn’t quite get their act together about online schooling? Well, they may have been fighting to keep a suicidal sibling alive all year. That friend who you thought you could count on but came up short this year? Maybe they ended up on the front lines of this struggle and had nothing left to give. So, maybe the strains of 2020 were an admission of an already weak system; or maybe those systems and relationships became collateral damage of COVID.
Let 2021 be a year of fresh starts and new beginnings. No reason to bring the angst of 2020 forward with us. Happy New Year!
Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Charon’s Blade,” is available at Amazon.com, on Kindle, or through MichaelJAlcorn.com.” His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.