I don’t think it can be overstated how excited I am to say goodbye to 2020.
While it was a profoundly historic year, I think it is safe to say that most of us are happy to have the idea of a new start and a new year to look forward to.
That being said, there were a few things about this crazy pandemic dominated year that I didn’t mind all that much.
I mean, I didn’t love the reasons for it but there are worse things than having more time to spend with my family.
Things slowed down for our family and while it shouldn’t take a quarantine to make us take stock of what is important, I am walking away from 2020 with a greater appreciation for those simple things that my family found happiness in during even the most stressful moments of 2020.
As you look ahead to the New Year and all that lies ahead for you and your loved ones in 2021, I encourage you to reflect on the sweetest simple pleasures that brought you joy in the past year — and find ways to keep them in your life for years to come.
While I hope to never have to weather another global pandemic, I hope that it doesn’t take a lockdown or quarantine to get me to really fully enjoy meaningful time with my precious loved ones.
Make a List of Resolutions: My first bit of homework for you to start your new year is easy.
Write down five things that you really enjoyed doing this past year that you never really took time to do before.
For me, this was learning to cook a few new things and it is a practice that I never realized I enjoyed so much.
Maybe you found that staying home on Saturday nights for a family movie night brought you great joy?
Perhaps you discovered that having your spouse prepare meals with you was something that brought you closer together,
Whether it is spending special time with your kids or having a weekly Zoom happy hour with your girlfriends, continue to do the things that you did in 2020 if they brought you happiness.
Eat Dessert First: A dear friend of mine who now lives in Heaven once told me to order dessert first because, well, life is short.
If we walk away from 2020 with any lessons, I feel like this one resonates the most strongly with me.
We never know what tomorrow will bring and a global pandemic was certainly not on anyone’s radar screen last New Year’s!
If you have been putting off making amends with that family member or learning a new hobby or skill — now is the time.
Several years ago, I made a resolution to pursue a career in education.
It meant walking away from the only career I had ever known and it took some sacrifices but it also brought me more joy in my job than I ever realized I could have.
Even if it is a little scary, do something you have been dreaming of this year!
It can’t be any scarier than what we weathered in 2020!
Make Up for Lost Time: So many things were lost in 2020 and some of those things will never be made up.
Children missed out on graduations, proms and sports, and families lost time with loved ones that we can not really make amends for.
What we can do as we look ahead to what will hopefully be a year of recovery and restoration of normalcy is find new ways to celebrate.
Add a few days to this year’s vacation, let the 51st birthday be as special as the 50th or host a late graduation party for your senior who missed his or her chance to hear “Pomp and Circumstance.”
It may not be what you expected but making up for those losses in new and innovative ways will create new memories and possibly new traditions for your family to treasure.
Lockdown Your Way: While I sincerely hope we never have another lockdown, quarantine or similar measure that requires us to safely shelter at home, I can honestly say that the forced slowdown of our family schedule was a much needed break from a very over-scheduled life.
While I hope our lives return to something that resembles normalcy in the coming year, I am going to work very hard to not over-schedule again.
If you need to schedule things to keep your sanity in check, be sure to schedule downtimes such as Free Time Fridays or Stay Home Sundays that give you space and time to be with your loved ones, unscheduled and unstructured.
If that means that you don’t sign your child up for every activity they did pre-COVID-19, so be it, you will find that the stay at home part of quarantine wasn’t so bad after all.
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)