The First Chapter of 2021: Choosing Our Own Adventure

cake with 2021 candle to celebrate new year

We have just opened up the first chapter of 2021, which is already exciting with that ‘new book’ smell and the crisp pages. Of course, it’s a ‘choose your own adventure’ book, where we know only some of the characters and nothing about the full plot or ending.

We’ll navigate our way through plot twists and turns, hoping we’ve made good choices. I always like to say with decisions, that I made the best decision based on the information available at the time. Of course, we all do that, don’t we?

Usually when we look back at things that didn’t go our way, we are also often thankful that they worked out as they did. Otherwise we wouldn’t have learned, or grown, or adjusted our sails to shift directions.

As the great Maya Angelou wrote, “Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now.” Of course 2020 was difficult, challenging, and a seemingly constant shift between anxiety, grief, and fear – yet it was also a year that we realized simply ‘still standing,’ was an achievement of resilience and that we grew in many ways.

I’m grateful that 2020 is behind us and cautiously hopeful that 2021 will be kinder and gentler. How I long for the movie night out in a packed theater or dinner with friends.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we must cherish our people. We need to keep reaching out even virtually, to those close to us and keep putting effort into maintaining relationships.

We also must protect the most vulnerable, whether we know them or not. Simply reaching out to a neighbor to check in on them or pick up groceries, has strengthened our communities and hopefully will be something we build on in 2021 after the dust settles and vaccines received.

I don’t want us to return to the exact “normal” that we left in 2019. I hope we grow into a “better normal” this year, where we are more mindful about looking after each other, more patient knowing that everyone is struggling with something, and overall more constructive in terms of practical help.

We are always choosing our own adventure, every day. Let’s choose to be kind and compassionate, over judgmental and louder. None of us know how our choices throughout the year will structure the plot we experience in 2021, nor do we know what plot twists we’ll experience. That said, what we do know is that our resilience as humans relies upon helping each other.

My hope for this year is that we build on the challenging lessons learned in 2020, to construct a new plot line where we are all able to find joy, provide comfort to those who need it, and to forgive ourselves and others for not being perfect. Deep breaths, friends, as we turn the page into this brand new adventure. Courage!