Has there ever been a more roundly-anticipated end to a year than the don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-where-the-good-Lord-split-you collective middle finger thrust forward by the collective soul of humanity to 2020?
Oh, there have been some rotten ones that people couldn’t wait to see leave the party: 1861 brought with it a Civil War that ultimately cost 620,000 American lives, according to battlefields.org. How about 1348? How many of you remember that gem? Author Peter Frankopan said that approximately one-third of the entire population of Europe was wiped out in an 18-month period, thanks to the “Black Death.” Let’s throw 1943 in the mix, too. The Holocaust was at its repugnant lows, and race riots were rampant in the United States — including the infamous “Zoot Suit Riots” in Los Angeles.
So, yeah, there have been some other stinkers. But those years did not have social media infesting its timeline, so those did not have everybody on the planet moaning and whining at such a feverish clip that I found myself often just staring at my phone and trying to strangle it in my hands so...
But I digress.
This new year is bringing with it some outsized expectations. So much of the planet is so completely over-the-top-relieved to be saying farewell to 2020 that they are placing unrealistic expectations on 2021. Anything short of the world coming together to sing “Kumbaya,” 7.7 billion people hitting the Powerball and researchers finding a definitive cure for baldness would be considered a massive failure by many across this spinning globe of ours.
I mean, especially that baldness thing. That would just be disappointing, am I right?
Regardless, 2021 is being touted as having some sort of regenerative healing power that will grow like kudzu across humanity and make everything right again. Hey, I’m here for it. Let’s see this rotten pandemic hit the bricks, the “leadership” in Washington grow up and start working for the people, an invasion of dishwashing hornets upon our shores and small businesses get preferential treatment over the conglomerates. Let’s do this.
But until those things happen, I’m going to focus on what I can control. Therefore, I’m setting out on my personal resolutions for 2021, and what can make me a better human being when the calendar turns its page to 2022:
- I resolve to work harder. There’s always something more I can do, and this year I do it. Then next year I do the next thing. There’s always something left in the tank.
- In relation to that first one, I resolve to also find a way to spend more time with my family and make that time as high-quality as I possibly can. It’s just so easy to come home after an exhausting day and semi-collapse on the couch, but that doesn’t help make me a better father or husband. You know what can? Me. I can make myself a better husband and father.
- Since I just can’t stop with this thread, this next one is in relation to the first two: I resolve to separate my stresses and frustrations. Home stressors won’t make it to the office, and vice versa.
- I resolve to eat more red meat. I needed an easy win after the first two.
- I resolve to limit my watching of 24-hour news stations to no more than one hour a day, and my online news reading to the same length of time. It’s a ridiculous waste of time to just sit there getting mad at people all the time when I could be focusing my attentions on literally anything else in the world. I could pet my dog. I could play a game with my kid. I could go find a rabid porcupine and wrestle him while wearing a Speedo made of tree bark and berries. (Editor’s note: I Googled what porcupines like to eat, which is another way to spend my time other than watching 24-hour hate-news stations all day — Googling what random animals eat.)
- This is the year, the Year of Our Lord 2021, that I get the garage straightened out once and for all, and know exactly where everything is whenever I need to find it. Or — and keep an open mind here — I don’t.
- I resolve to do a better job with my personal health, focusing more on sleep, diet, exercise and mental health. I actually have done a little better on this front the past few years, excluding sleep. I say this because, well, I too-often exclude sleep.
- I resolve to not get upset once this year watching the Baltimore Orioles play baseball. Breathing techniques? No. Learning to appreciate the simple joy of watching the game without getting so emotionally invested? Nuh-uh. I’m not going to watch. Simple as that. I never resolved to avoid getting angry while listening to the Orioles games. That’s next year’s problem.
- I resolve to try hard. To try hard at work. To try hard at home. To try hard for myself. To try hard to be a better human being.
That’s all I have for you, 2021. We have some high expectations for you, but we need to hold those expectations for ourselves to make it work.