Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.
What do I want to hear in 2021? I want to hear that a hero is taking charge and making all the bad stuff go away and all the good stuff multiply. I want to retreat back into my mundane life and forget hostility and violence and duplicity. I want sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. That’s what I want.
These past few years I’ve learned a hard lesson. Grown-ups—including children who perform as adults—must take responsibility for themselves and their world, and that’s more complicated than it sounds. Our religious leaders (Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, etc.) have pivoted to face us as John Kennedy once did to say, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” I would add, “Also ask what you need to do for you.” We have people who will speak eloquently for us, and people who will tell us the lies we want to hear, and people who will tell us they’re acting for us when they’re really just boosting their interests, but in the end we’re the ones in the spotlight. We have to sort out the dump of information. We have to power the ship. Game on.
Sitting at home waiting for COVID-19 to wheeze past us, we finally realized how innately powerful we are. Our time alone or juggling home and office simultaneously has made us strong. Biden and Harris may be great, but they aren’t Marvel superheroes. They can’t always be right—or wrong. They’re just other folks doing what falls to them to do. Together all of us will have to stay alert to create a better future. Our brute force requires us to work together for the greater good. We might find solutions that haven’t been worn out before when we think about improving life for all of us. As the research revealed, diversity makes better decisions.
People used to say you have to hit rock bottom before you’re ready to change. With the death toll from the pandemic rising daily and the after-effects that some of the survivors suffer wrecking what’s left of their lives, we have responsibility as the citizens who are left to do what we can. “Leaders” who swore COVID-19 was a hoax have rushed to be vaccinated. Hypocrisy drips from their needles. “There are no atheists in foxholes,” and no one wants to be the one who discovers the hard way the scientists were right to worry all along. With hate crimes on the rise and the economy for the middle and lower classes drooping, we can feel rock bottom nearby.
The point is 2021 is a doorway to a future that can grind along as we have in the past or can hand us our lives and our democracy to restructure. We can begin with ourselves. How would you like to be different—not simply thinner but more substantive? Speaking for myself, I want to give myself permission to be better than I expected. I want to speak up when people denigrate hard-working do-gooders such as election workers. “Twinkle, twinkle little star, what you say is what you are.” Criticizing is a poor substitute for doing something helpful.
Like you, I’m as weary as I’ve ever been. I want to be able to do the things that supported me before all this went haywire. As my husband would say, “People in Hell want ice water, too.” This next year I’m going to have to earn those benefits by lending whatever resources I can muster to everyone’s future. I’m going to have to use my mirror to look for signs of character instead of gray hairs. Like it or not, I have to stay in the game. Bring on the new year!