the Traveling Writing Room
Post-Christmas/Pre New Year’s
Here we are in that week between Christmas and New Year’s. The stockings once filled with surprise and wonder are now lying in a corner abandoned, and in the fridge a various assortment of left-overs make up creative meals. Dressing and peanut butter balls anyone? It’s a week of basking in the glow of recent family conversations and silly games. Now we must get serious. A new year approaches. If you are like me, you are more than excited to rid yourselves of 2020 with its chaos and sorrow, as we anticipate the hope and new beginnings that 2021 promises.
However, it is the promises we make to ourselves that will distinguish this new year. Journals, diets, meditation, exercise, you know the list. I can’t think of anything else that would entice me to drink a smoothie of beet juice, celery and apples than the renewed determination to get healthier in 2021.
With that said, I can’t help but think this year’s list might be different for many of us. Yeah, we should all try to take better care of our bodies. Journaling is a great way to better understand your own thoughts. But the one thing I think this pandemic has hammered home is that we need each other. I dare say, some are surprised by that. Even the most self-sufficient of us have grown weary of our own company. I’m pretty independent. However, during this time of sequestering and distancing, I found out just how much I enjoy being out there amongst the masses. Store clerks, collogues, the mailman/woman, smiling at those I pass on my walks, sitting in a theater enjoying a movie with people I don’t even know, chatting with my neighbors, watching children swing or slide on a playground, being with other dog-people at the dog park, sitting in a restaurant conversing with the waiter or waitress. These are not people I have a deep abiding relationship with other than we are all part of the human race. Yet, I’ve missed those exchanges. I’ve missed smiles that have been hidden away behind masks. Folks like these are a touchstone of sorts that remind us we are in this together. All of the accidental comings-together, eye contacts, saying ‘thank yous’ and other bits of shoulder rubbing with strangers connect us. I’ve missed that, truly missed that.
So, this is my New Year’s resolution: I want to appreciate everyone. I want those I come in contact with to know I am truly happy to see them. I am going to say thank you more. I’m going to make eye contact more. I’m going to be alert when I’m out there to recognize if someone is maybe having a bad day. If someone drops something in front of me, I’m going to pick it up for them. I’m going to hold the door open for the person behind me. I’m going to walk with my head up so I see people and nod. When I stand in a line, I’m going to be pleasant. I’m going to stop and smile at every baby I see. And, most importantly, no one, absolutely, no one, after an encounter with me will be made to feel like they don’t matter.
Those of us fortunate to be alive after such a deadly year, let’s ring in the new year with gladness and thanksgiving. Let’s thank our great God for the gift of each other. May the year 2021 be the year we become our better selves. The beet juice is up to you.