Can we take a moment and recognize the cluster that 2020 was?
2020 began for me in a bar, with my friends. I jokingly said I was going into the new year with “20/20 vision” and non-jokingly claimed it as mine. We toasted cheap champagne and kissed each other on the cheeks; I spent the night with my best friend and woke up to the new year a tad hungover and blessed with the healing properties of Bojangles. The world was new and shiny, and I could feel opportunity all around me.
Fast forward twelve months later and there’s a global pandemic, not to mention an unsheathing of religious and political division.
2020 was a cluster. Of pain. Of suffering. Of disbelief and unimaginable grief.
What is 2021 going to bring?
I am no doctor, friend. I’m neither a doctor nor a mediator. I don’t hold a political office or have a grand plan to enact global change and well-being. I don’t have the status to convince others to follow mask protocol or love their neighbors as they do themselves.
Despite all the things I’m not, there is something I am.
I am yet hopeful.
I want to share something with you. Now that we’ve established the common ground of the less-than-ideal last year, I want to prepare you for what I am about to say. Please know that I am sharing this without the intention to shame or belittle you or sugarcoat the pain that the last year has brought. 2020 was unimaginably difficult and I firmly believe there is a need for a collective honoring of its pain. And, I am yet hopeful for the future. And with that I ask of you, friend:
Don’t shy away from 2021.
All around me I have noticed those I hold dear setting themselves up for more of the same disappointment in the new year. I’ve heard “2021 is going to probably be worse than 2020 was.” Friends have told me “I don’t even care about 2021 anymore.” I’ve read on social media “The world is ending in 2021!” In fact, a majority of the commentary regarding the new year has been extremely negative.
Trust me, it makes sense!
People are still not wearing masks. Our nation’s Capitol has been stormed. Both individual and systematic racism is rampant in our country. People are hurting, dying, and mourning every hour on the hour. The continual fear and pain has led to me (and others, I’d wager) to become numb.
And that numbness is truly terrifying.
Resolutions made in 2020 didn’t have much of a fighting chance; I absolutely understand the human need to set the bar incredibly low after being smited. I get the hesitancy to ask for the world to change when you see the depths of human indecency emerge in front of you. Phrases like “prepare for the worst” come to mind and the mentality of “if I expect disappointment, anything better than that is a gift” resonates.
And yet, I still say: 2020 has taken so much from us; do everything you can to dial down the numbness, the hesitancy.
One way to do that? Reclaim yourself, friend.
It is easy when turning to face the numbness, to feel your body bracing. Brace yourself, you might say, for another hit is sure to come your way. Isn’t that what survival is all about? Trust me, there is beauty in surviving. Especially when the odds are stacking against you. What I, gently, as is: how can you up the ante? What else can you ask of yourself, rather than just making it through the day?
I am in no way asking you to make a thousand resolutions. I’m not even asking you to make one. What I am asking, though, is to be aware of what dismissing the hope and promise of a new year causes you to lose, potentially before you’ve even found it. I firmly believe that you are already perfect, without the need to make a resolution. And, I believe, too, that you deserve to live in a world of plentiful love and purpose.
What small thing can you do to bring that plentiful hope and purpose to you?
My world of plentiful love and purpose is rooted in the writing that I am doing now. Right now, writing this with a cat on my lap and a chill in the air, I feel exuberant. I love myself enough to want that exuberance more often in my life. That exuberant, giddy, light feeling of typing on this keyboard is what fills me up; even when there are things all around me that drain me down. I am committing to this feeling in the new year. I am not resolving myself to this plan, because this beauty has already lived inside of me. My womb-soul was born with the drive to create and write- share with others through the written word. What I am committing to, though, is honoring that. For myself. And hopefully, it will resonate with someone else, too.
So, tell me. What plentiful love and purpose can you cultivate in your new year? What have you already started planting in your own world that you want to bring to harvest? Water it! Tell me below. Tell me, friend, tell me so that on days when 2021 hits a little harder, I can be reminded of the power of naming our hopes and dreams- the truest versions of ourselves that we must never, ever, shy away from.