Dawn Davis Allen
A New Year, A New Mindset: 4 Wishes for 2021
If a year ever cried out for personal changes, 2020 did. Most of us suffered to some degree during this pandemic-driven year from hell. Some people didn't survive it which leaves us grateful that we did. It's been years since I ushered in a new year, but nothing will stop me from greeting 2021. I've never looked forward to a new year with more hope and energy than this one. While we're far from out of the worst this year offered - the pandemic - there is reason to believe 2o21 will bring relief in many ways.
I've never been a fan of New Year's resolutions. They may have the best of intentions, but usually they serve as carriers of guilt, failure, and insecurity. This doesn't mean I believe we should begin the new year without purpose, but we must make that purpose meaningful in positive ways. After a year like 2020, I've struggled to figure out what that looks like. I'm also nearing retirement and asking questions about what life will look like post-workforce. Like many this year, I lost a loved one - my father - in 2020. In the face of loss and trauma, how do we embrace a new year?
Wipe the slate clean. This doesn't mean I forget I lost my dad or watched my son be furloughed with those difficulties. It doesn't mean I don't worry over my mother's health following a stroke in 2020. What it means to wipe the slate clean is the need to leave those difficulties and burdens in 2020. They don't belong in the new year. I'm blessed that Mom is still with me and my focus is there. My dad's suffering is over and for that I am grateful to 2020. Issues with friends or co-workers? Leave it where it belongs in the past. Move on with a view that 2021 will bring the best it has to offer.
Adopt a new attitude. No matter what darkness we battled in 2020, we are free now. We can look to the new year to bring us gifts as well as challenges, high points and low points, and lessons to be learned. Bottom line for all of us is the new year brings the hope of a better tomorrow.
Act. If we learned anything in 2020, it's that as citizens we've become apathetic. Accepting whatever happens as if we have no say in it. We've allowed the government to lose sight of who they work for. We've allowed our police forces to become militaristic instead of serving the purpose of public safety. We've stood by for too long arguing with strangers on social media as if this would change anything. It doesn't. This is the time to act, especially if you are white, people of color deserve for us to stand in solidarity with them, or if you're below the poverty line, or a part of the vanishing middle class. Write your legislators and let them know what isn't going to be acceptable from now on. And when they ignore you - which they will - show them the door in the next election. Action is a duty for every citizen.
Be Kind. I don't know when kindness went out of fashion, but it needs to be mainstream this new year. We all endured a tough year, the toughest ever for most people. We have no idea why someone might act out, but chances are good it's a trauma reaction. We have nothing to lose by being kind. Try it.
Give yourself over to 2021 with a self hug. You won the lottery in a year when many people lost. Sending virtual hugs and positive thoughts for a new year.