So what can we do to make the new year better than the last? Unplug and reboot? Move to a commune and live off the grid? Maybe New Zealand will take us in...
I started thinking about how, in the past, when we've done any home remodeling, all furniture, knick-
knacks, tools, storage boxes have to be moved out of the way. Then when it's over, before we start putting things back, I do a major purge: the instruction manual for a mixer we don't own anymore, Barbie wrapping paper remnants, and 53 keys that unlock nothing in our house all must go. Getting rid of junk you don't need is almost as good as the remodel. (And it's cheaper.)
What if we took all the "stuff" from 2020--the presidential campaign, the pandemic, the discovery of space aliens (and how they didn't even stop to say hi)--and laid it all out on the lawn, dug through the piles, and only kept what we really want/need? (Unfortunately with the exception of Global Pandemic, that toxic second cousin that no one wants sleeping on their couch, but who we can't quite get rid of until we get him sorted out.)
Think of it as a kind of Marie Kondo method. Does it spark joy? If not, kick it to the curb. If so, maybe buy it a nice new frame or a cute storage basket and put it on your mantle so everyone can see and remember: "It wasn't all bad."
One thing I would definitely keep from 2020 is all three of our kids graduating --two from college and one from high school. Our "Great Graf Graduation" party was not as big as I'd hoped (social distancing!), but we celebrated the best we could. The fact that they were able to finish their schooling virtually and then move on with their lives (new jobs, new homes, new plans) during a shut down tells me they will be able to succeed at most anything. Also, with two kids out of college and supporting themselves, it's like my husband and I have received a substantial raise. Win and win.
I would also keep all the family time we've had over the last year--whether we wanted it or not. Sometimes by just hanging out with people--not going anywhere, not celebrating anything--you find out just how interesting they are. On the other hand, we may have occasionally had a little too much family time (and will perhaps need a nice long break from each...or possibly therapy). But we will definitely never forget it!
Things I will NOT be taking with me into 2021: trying to figure out people who don't believe in science (or really, trying to figure out people in general); wearing uncomfortable clothing (I have officially accepted leggings as pants and will be taking no further questions); or the idea that I should give up bread.
Once this pandemic is over I will find just the right place for whatever I'm keeping and leave everything else at the end of the driveway with a free sign. And, like after the 1918 influenza pandemic, will look forward to the "Roaring 20's"...but I will probably still keep my hand sanitizer nearby, just in case.