I feel like I have just dug myself out of the rubble of a horrendous blast. The past year has been one unbelievable event after another. We have experienced so much shock and tragedy it’s hard to imagine the possibility of a new year and a clean slate. 

I picked up a few bad habits in 2020. It’s safe to say we probably all have. Many have lost friendships and marriages. We became fearful of others and unforgiving of the very community we had grown to love. The pandemic weakened us. It tested our empathy. It changed us.

I can only speak for myself when I say that my new bad habits are many. I picked up panic eating/drinking and a few extra pounds. I binged on social media to the point that it may have re-wired my brain. This is especially bad considering all the misinformation out there on social media platforms. I now also suffer from a total lack of structure. When faced with the option of no schedule it becomes easy to do nothing and get nothing done. Most importantly, I have forgotten how to breathe. 

I’m not completely a lost cause. Since the universe gave me a forced pause, I learned that I was way too over-scheduled. There was no reason to have 20 nights a month jam-packed with activities. I didn’t need to keep doing what I was doing.

I believe there is still hope for us all. We can start by considering consequences. Based on the happenings of 2020 we can no longer shrug our shoulders and say, “What’s the worst that can happen?” We know what can happen and it wasn’t pretty. Just when you think that this current event is the worst thing that can happen, there’s a possibility of Godzilla or murder hornets on the horizon. 

We can stop falling into the social media trap and form our own educated opinions without Mark Zuckerberg’s help. In the future we can try to stay calm, maybe even take the time to breathe. We’ve got to remember to breathe. 

We must learn to forgive. This includes our vigilante townsfolk, the neighbors with the political flags, barking dogs or wandering cats. We should forgive the people who refuse to follow rules or cooperate. We can also forgive politicians and the media for fanning the fire. We need to learn to trust again. We cannot be jaded. 

We can get back to believing doctors and scientists or our friends and family. We can give people the benefit of the doubt and learn to hear both sides of the story. We can stop stress eating and drinking and by doing so fit into last year’s jeans. (That last one is mainly just for me.) 

We can do it. We can get back to the life we had prior to this pandemic. 2020 has taught us that the adversity we face, and the resilience we respond with, has the power to shape our lives for the better. We can learn from this and become more grateful, compassionate people. Its all up to us. We’ve got a clean slate so let’s use it.

Happy New Year to the Mountain Empire and beyond. May this coming year restore our hope.