Can 2021 Come Out To Stay?

At last! It’s gone! Finally, we’re seeing 2020 in the rearview mirror.

Or at least, we would see it there if we were actually doing any driving. I got a new car—a fun red one!—early in March. By December 31, I had a whopping 1556 miles on it.

I think I put more miles than that on my hiking boots. Because among the things I’ve been grateful for this past year are the bike path just a block from my house and the many Black Hills hiking trails that are so easily accessible. In a year when it’s been so easy to slide into depression and stay there, socially distanced outdoor exercise has been a sanity saver.

A few other insights from 2020:

Thank goodness a lot of those new bakers who thought sourdough was the best discovery since sliced bread got tired of kneading. That leaves enough flour and yeast on the shelves for those of us who were making homemade bread before Covid made it cool.

Online grocery ordering is an exercise in trust and letting go. It’s no small thing to rely on someone else to pick out your bananas.

Group grocery buying supports healthier eating. I give my list to my daughter, who places our joint order online, where some brave soul fills it, so my son-in-law can pick it up, separate out my groceries, and drop them off at my house. With that many witnesses, there’s no way I’m buying any junk food. (Note: thankfully, dark chocolate is not junk food.)

A good friend will tell you which store has a new stock of toilet paper. A best friend will share her stash.

Talking to yourself is a sign of mental health. After about the eighty-seventeenth day of pandemic isolation, however, you’ve pretty much heard everything you have to say.

If you trim your own hair, describing the result as “asymmetrical” rather than “uneven” will help you pretend you meant it to come out that way.

Unless you outgrow your clothes, it is possible to stay decent, if perhaps not precisely fashionable, for an entire year with what’s in your closet. The downside is it doesn’t do much for the local economy if your clothing purchases for 12 months consist of two shirts, one pair of walking shoes, and a package of underwear.

Our 21st century technology is incredible. Texting, phone calls, social media, Zoom, and all its cousins are amazing ways to stay in touch. The e-reader is the best invention since contact lenses, and downloadable books are a gift from the gods and the local library board.

Some people have used pandemic isolation to clean out all their closets, master new languages or musical instruments, participate in online yoga classes, remodel their houses, keep daily journals, or write deep and thoughtful books. Some of us have used pandemic isolation to think about starting big projects like those. While we’ve been thinking, we read a lot of books.

Of course, turning our calendars to 2021 doesn’t mean the pandemic is over. That little New Year critter isn’t rushing in; it’s cautiously peeking out to see whether it’s safe to show up. But at least the fears and frustrations and grief that have been weighing us down are leavened with some hope and optimism.

May your 2021 include good health, vaccinations, in-person conversations, gatherings, hugs, and reconnections with those you love. Blessings and best wishes for a brighter year ahead.

Categories: Living Consciously | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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