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Looking ahead to 2021

It is difficult to know what to hope for, what to resolve to do, in this new year. The one we leave behind isn’t really done taking its toll on us. Nor is it done pushing us toward being better versions of ourselves.

Can we take what we have learned and become better for it?

Step one is going to be throwing away a whole lot of pride and stubbornness, which for too many is what they hold onto most fiercely when times get difficult. But we’ve got to try.

I hope that in this new year we resolve to be more compassionate, to support the humans around us even if we don’t always agree with their thinking. I hope we stop proving to elected officials that they have been right in their strategy to divide and control us, rather than unite and serve us. I hope we stop proving to them their means have justified the ends by giving the most divisive and obstructionist among them a lifetime seat of their choosing.

I hope we can take care of each other by stopping the spread of this awful, awful virus; and by getting vaccinated when we can — then being as vigilant as possible about nipping in the bud whatever comes next.

I hope we can take the raw pain that has been on full display in protest after protest and turn it into real change when it comes to social justice and the fight for equality. To do that, I hope we listen to each other. I hope we are empathetic … and active.

I hope we can rebuild the economy that has taken hit after hit … and is booming for a select few, but is leaving others struggling in the dust. Let’s support local businesses, but also be creative about using the lessons we have learned when so many were forced to work remotely. Maybe there is another way.

Maybe there is another way to do all of this. We don’t have to go back to precisely the way things were at this time a year ago. In fact, we have a duty not to regress. We are moving forward. We have to be unafraid critical thinkers. We have to ask questions, and be willing to admit when we are wrong. (And all of us are wrong at least once in a while. Certainly I am on a fairly regular basis.)

Of course, I hope we all, too, live up to our desires to eat better, get fit, handle our money more wisely and whatever other personal goals crossed our minds Jan. 1.

Those and our collective goals to improve will require willpower. Just as with individuals, if something is important to a community, it will find a way. If not, it will find an excuse.

Let’s be done with excuses, folks. Let’s use 2021 to shy away from selfish desires to just keep doing things because “it’s the way I was raised,” or “it’s the way it’s always been done.”

The year in our rearview mirror has proved we can’t afford that kind of thinking anymore. We’ve been uncomfortable for almost a year now. Let’s make something good come of it.

I wish, then, that 2020 and all it wrought was not for nothing; and I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year.

Christina Myer is executive editor of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel. She can be reached via e-mail at cmyer@newsandsentinel.com

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