Family Moab

Family Moab
In Arches National Park

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

2021, or Great Expectations

The infant 2021 has so much riding on its appearance, I wouldn't be surprised if it turned tail and fled. Talk about outsized expectations; the regular New Year's countdowns are tinged with hysteria over the "plague year" of 2020 while posted resolutions and hopes for 2021 include grand phrases like "sea change," "the return of science," and "return to normalcy." New Year's Eves are always overhyped, but this one carries an unusually large burden, though without attendant expectations of partying until we drop.

There's a giant "2021" word puzzle floating around Facebook with the invitation to notice the "first four words that leap out at you." These words are supposedly your banners for the new year, and when I did it (couldn't resist), I saw "change, strength, health, love."  Motivating, hopeful and optimistic. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that the nouns I found in the puzzle are already goals and focii, ongoing areas of importance rather than one-off inspirations. Following the mantra of "change, strength, health, love" will merely emphasize current priorities. 

Which brings me to the main point: when we do the big reveal on the 2021 calendar and start writing "2021" on our checks we will still, in large part, carry on doing what we're doing today. The New Year is a clerical change, not a sea change. We have hope now in the vaccine and in a new administration, but so much still rests on our individual actions. We still have a responsibility to stay safe and keep others safe. If our actions contributed to problems in 2021 then we'll have to make changes if we want the new year to see different results. It's still a daily struggle, it just has a new name.

So don't burden the fledgling year with overly large expectations. I'll keep taking it day-by-day,  working on embracing "change, strength, health, love," perhaps waking up one day in July to find that I can embrace not only those values but my friends and family again.

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