Updated: Feb 1, 2021
...and see where the momentum takes you.
By Elliott Wright
This year will be the first time that I have made a New Year’s resolution during a pandemic. I am confident in saying that this is the same for you. We have finally made it; 2020 is behind us. At this point, vaccines have been shipped around the world, with the intention of resurrecting life as we remember it pre-COVID-19. Things will get better as long as we continue to make lifestyle decisions based on scientific evidence and facts. With this in mind, the concept of a resolution, at least for me, will take on new importance.
In previous years, my implementation of that year’s resolution typically declined as the year wore on. I would often justify to myself that it was my busy schedule that was interfering with my attempt to give something up or start a new, healthy habit. However, now with more time on my hands than ever before, I am confident that I will be able to devote myself to my resolution this year. The uninterrupted moments of last year allowed me to think about what is truly important in life, and how I want to use my energy efficiently. This perspective will also aid in deciding what I want to improve about myself as we start a new year.
Recently, a dear friend of mine confided in me that he has little hope for 2021. As is common with a lot of people throughout the world, the pandemic has weighed heavily on his mental health. What I tried to make clear to him, as 2020 has come and gone, is that what he is feeling right now is not permanent. He argued that things can always get worse, and I responded that things can always get better, as well. I believe that having an attitude of optimism for the future, for life during 2021 and beyond, is crucial as we navigate these still-trying times.
Personally, my goal for 2021 is to keep my body moving. I feel that momentum is the key to life, even more so during the pandemic. I hope to do this by skateboarding, biking, and surfing while following guidelines to do so safely. Especially during lockdown, I found myself feeling more lethargic when I was trapped in my house for months on end. When I went outdoors and did things that I love, safely, I always came home feeling better than when I had left. That was the advice I gave to my friend. Although he might not enjoy doing the same exact activities, I told him that being outside safely is the best place to be. With a virus that wreaks havoc on the respiratory system, taking large breaths of fresh air, as an act of defiance, feels like the best way to combat this terrible pestilence.
Additionally, we are blessed to live in a community where we can comfortably spend more time outdoors, especially in the middle of winter. I often reflect with gratitude that I do not live somewhere in the Midwest or Northeast, where my interests would be restricted by the weather based on the time of year. Perhaps that is why I am so happy to be an Angeleno, because I can spend ample time outdoors, feeling the sun and salty ocean air on my face. There is something to be said for a good sweat, as it releases endorphins, which in turn make me feel at peace with the wide world around me. Perhaps that is why I practice my hobbies as much as I do: because I’m lucky enough to be able to do so how and when I want.
In closing, I hope that my own thoughts about how we should start 2021 will be an inspiration to you to ask yourself that same question: “What do I want to leave behind in 2020, and what are the things that I want to bring to 2021?”
Without pausing to think about these simple concepts, we are willing ourselves to be complacent in our old ways. I wish you all the very best for the year ahead; keep the positive mental attitude, and keep moving in whatever way you can.
Elliott Wright is a writer based in Westchester. He spends as much time as he can outdoors.