2021. Maybe a little reminiscent of 1920. With an eye toward 2122. Which takes a little edge off that whole "New Year" thing. My son has announced that his biggest concern moving forward is that, as Bono has been suggesting for since 1983, "Nothing changes on New Year's Day." Because after months of having absolutely nothing to look forward to, being told that there is still nothing to look forward to is not a future to which we want to reckon. Something has got to give.
It is that odd ritual that puts a significance on the changing of calendars. Last year there were scenes of nature, and by golly they'll be there again this year. Only different scenes of nature. Not only that, but last year we started on a Wednesday. And thanks to that leap year thing, we begin 2021 on a Friday. If that's not shaking things up, I don't know what is. Not only that, we are freed from those garish party glasses that people were wearing last year, peering through the two zeroes. Next stop for those bad boys looks like 2030.
Maybe you're looking for more substantive change. A new president, perhaps? Keeping in mind that every elected official will eventually leave those who voted for him or her disappointed. I have resigned myself to the potential failings of Joe Biden, but I am still hoping that he will provide a respite from the daily "didjahearwhathesaid" of his predecessor. 2021 can be dull. A few less riots. A few less scandals. A little more peace.
My mother has a refrain for times like these. After a particularly unsettling series of setbacks, she will often opine, "Well, it's a learning experience." A fair point, and one that I have chosen not to argue with as I have grown older and felt compelled to pass along this wisdom to my son. Got your hand caught in the car door? It's a learning experience. Got yourself caught in a global pandemic? It's a learning experience. Spent the last four years in a country ruled by a bag of Cheetos? It's a learning experience.
So, what have I learned? Let time come to you, rather than chase after it. Take solace in the endless repetition of days that don't contain ugly surprises. Savor the moments that offer themselves up like a dog asking for his belly to be scratched. Those times will be in the rearview mirror soon enough, and new delights and disappointments await. You don't have to wait. They'll be by, and gone before you know it. But heaven help us if we ever refer to 2020 as "that good old days."