2021: What Kind of Year Will You Create for Yourself?

Traditionally, at the end of the year, we talk about making resolutions. What are the things we want to do to change our lives? We make a list and start out with good intentions, but within 30 days that list has usually gone into the garbage pail. It’s not that we don’t have a desire to change, it is that the list is too long, not prioritized, and we haven’t figured out the “why,” the real reason we want to do those things.   
But after a year like 2020, a year of a presidential impeachment, a global pandemic that has caused over 350,000 deaths in the US, an election that is still being fought, and many personal griefs and losses, we need to find a different way to enter the new year.
A local religious leader whom I respect greatly asked the following question: How will you wrestle purposeful and intentional change out of this year of tragedy? What will you carry forward with you and what will you leave behind?
It is my belief that in order to go forward in a meaningful way, we need to assess how this year of the pandemic affected us personally. Try asking yourself the following questions: If you had to describe the year, what would you say? What did you learn about yourself? Of all the things you could not do, what bothered you the most? Which of your friends handled the pandemic the best and why? Did the pandemic change any of your relationships with family, friends, or coworkers? What emotions did you experience that bothered you the most? Do you think you are more or less resilient since the pandemic began? Have you learned any new skills? Has the year changed you in any spiritual way?
So, if you have learned new skills, will you continue to use them? I know that I have learned many new technologies and hope to continue to use them. I feel more resilient in terms of being independent, but less so in being connected to others intimately, being able to see and hug my friends and family. The emotion I struggle with the most is frustration which occurs when I automatically want to do something and then have to remind myself that the pandemic prevents it.
While many people are fighting to survive, having lost health, homes, jobs, and the ability to put food on the table, some of us are lucky to be able to consciously design the new year we would like to have. In addition to being grateful for that opportunity, let us all reflect on what is important to us, and how we wish to learn, give back, and appreciate our world in 2021.