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Recognizing Valuable Lessons for a Positive New Year

By Catherine Campbell

I’ve never been one to wish a year would end. Perhaps I have been lucky enough that no single year has been plagued by any great amount of personal misery or maybe I do not attach my fortune – good or bad – to the year. Having said that, it’s quite natural to associate a year with any number of occurrences – milestones, death, births, family reunions, other memories, and rites of passage – suggesting there are certainly years that stand out as good or bad for everyone. We all have hopes for the New Year, no matter how the one before has gone. It is characteristically human to set goals, strive for improvement, learn, and evolve.

This New Year is different, however. It has a similar significance for all of humanity. 2020 was a disaster on a global scale. Including and beyond the pandemic, it was filled to the brim with misery, misfortune, grief, and despair for many. Certainly, in my memory, there has never been one year so universally horrible that the world is collectively eager to bid it farewell. That’s not to say that we all had the same experiences but, it is safe to say, we all want the pandemic to end. The world will usher 2021 in with more enthusiasm than any other year, albeit from the quiet of our own spaces and places. The question is how do we ensure it is better than 2020?

There are always valuable lessons in life and 2020 was full of them! We had no choice but to find ways to cope, stay safe and solve problems associated with a pandemic. Despite all the frustration and heartache, we were forced to learn. To fully appreciate and grow from those learnings, so they will serve us in the future, it is important to reflect. Whether you recognized the importance of helping others, working together, saving money, staying connected to family and friends, freedom and choice, hygiene and infection control, good governance, a strong and viable economy, being less driven by material possessions, enjoying nature or something else, there is so much to learn from situations both good and bad. It is not about what happens in your life, but what you learn and how you handle yourself. As we embark on a New Year, recognizing valuable lessons, counting blessings and being mindful is a great way to have a fresh and positive start.