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Happy New Year 2021!

Marlene Kern Fischer


It’s almost 2021, which means it’s time for my annual New Year’s resolutions piece.

I certainly don’t have to tell you that this past year was one big dumpster fire. Kobe Bryant’s death, the wildfires, the killing of George Floyd, and too many other bad things to list. Oh yeah, and a global pandemic.

I think I safely can say that no one on the planet will be sorry to say goodbye to 2020. Really. Absolutely. No one.

Sure, there were bright spots.

On a personal note, my oldest son got married in my backyard over the summer which means I officially gained a daughter. It was a lovely and meaningful event, despite the pandemic and only a handful of people in attendance. I even wrote a book about it, which was a huge deal for me.

And during the initial lockdown I got to spend a lot of time with my immediate family which was (mostly) nice. (Except for the meals and the mess and the laundry.) I’m guessing all of you can find at least one personal silver lining among all the black clouds.

On a more global level, there was an asteroid that passed by earth in early November. I still can’t believe it didn’t hit us — I mean 2020 really was the year it would happen if there ever were such a year. In addition, those murder hornets we kept hearing about didn’t amount to much.

Here’s another awesome thing that happened: dogs and cats by the score were adopted and shelters emptied, as so many us found time in our work-from-home lives and space in our hearts for furry support and unconditional love.

I’m going to take all of these occurrences as signs that things are looking up!

In addition, and this one is HUGE, the vaccines are here and we've begun the process of vaccinating our population, beginning with frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. YAY! Although it will take a while to reach most of us, at least we know it’s coming. Which means there is a light at the end of this pretty long COVID-19 tunnel.

In the interim, while I am still stuck at home during what is looking to be a fairly bleak winter, there are plenty of things I can work on. I may have to write another list for when the pandemic ends but for the immediate months, here are a few of my resolutions (in no particular order of importance).

My 2021 New Year's Resolutions

  • Rotate my sweatpants. And get rid of the really ratty ones that shouldn’t even be worn in the house.
  • Try on real clothes, like jeans, every once in a while, so that when the world returns to normal, my body doesn’t go into shock when I’m required to wear things that do not stretch. But I’m still staying away from shoes with heels. Long live sneakers and fuzzy slip-on footwear!
  • Limit myself to one jigsaw puzzle a week.
  • Organize anything I haven’t already organized. Or reorganize. There’s always a drawer or a cabinet in need.
  • Remember to put in earrings every once in a while so my holes don’t close up.
  • Read the stack of books on my nightstand. No excuses!
  • Get outside even when it’s cold and grey. And snowing. Okay, maybe not when it’s snowing. Or raining. Or too windy.
  • Go back to “The Crown” and try watching it again. It’s slow but worthwhile (or so I hear).
  • Make sure the COVID-19 pounds I’ve gained don’t turn into COVID-50 pounds.
  • Keep Zooming with friends even though Zoom can be annoying. Sometimes everyone talks. Sometimes there’s an awkward silence. Sometimes there are connection issues. But it’s the best we’ve got right now.
  • Exercise more. This one has made it onto every New Year’s resolution list I’ve ever made. What I lack in motivation, I definitely make up for with consistency. Plus, maybe not only can I avoid the aforesaid COVID-50, but even start reversing the COVID-19 I gained.
  • Try and stay positive. And when I can’t, give myself a break because none of this is easy.
  • Remember to be grateful. Because I know I have a lot to be grateful for.
  • Learn a new language. Just kidding. That’s not gonna happen. These days I’m happy if I can recall words in my native tongue.
  • Wave and smile. To the garbagemen, the mail carrier, the FedEx guy and every other frontline worker taking a risk by showing up to work every day to keep things going. And to the neighbors as they drive by or when I see them in their houses as I get in that walk. We can all use a touch of humanity and connection.
  • Help someone less fortunate. Food insecurity is at an all-time high and food banks are desperate for donations.
  • Keep reminding myself that this will end. Because it will.

So there you have it; my New Year’s resolutions, the pandemic version.

I’m guessing I'll spend New Year’s Eve like I do most nights these days — either on my couch or in my bed watching TV. Whatever your plans are, I hope you are safe.

Wishing you all a healthy and not miserable 2021!


Puzzle photo courtesy of the author.

Marlene Kern Fischer is a wife, mother of three sons and a newly gained daughter, food shopper extraordinaire, blogger and college essay editor. She recently published her first book, “Gained a Daughter But Nearly Lost My Mind: How I Planned a Backyard Wedding During a Pandemic.” A founding contributor at Collegiate Parent, her work has also been featured on Huffington Post, Grown & Flown, The New York Times (Modern Love), Kveller, Her View From Home and The Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. Find her on Facebook at “Thoughts From Aisle 4.”

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