Bye Bye 2020 – Hello 2021

It’s time to say good-bye to 2020. I’m Zulah Talmadge, editor of The Shady Pines Gazette. If you’re like most of our readers, you can’t wait to get this year behind you. Any way you look at it, this has been a roller coaster year!

So, how should we approach 2021? We’re still carrying many of the same issues right into January. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and decided we might need a different approach to the new year. We gotta switch things up.

Most of us are used to writing down the same ‘ole resolutions we make every year: Lose weight, Get healthy, Travel more – you get the picture. But is that really the best plan this time around? Or, are we now getting used to thinking and acting differently in our new world order?

Embrace Change

In 2020 the pandemic forced us to make changes. An out of control virus has a way of making us alter our lifestyle whether we want to or not. Otherwise, we are at risk of getting really sick, or worse.

Here’s what I’m thinking. The beauty of resolutions is they are about embracing change. How ’bout we find a way to do that in a positive, even fun way? In fact, instead of “resolutions,” maybe we should think of setting, “goals.” I talked to some experts and they suggest setting reasonable goals that you can actually achieve. Then, make an action plan.

For instance, let’s say you decide to walk five miles a day if you an/or your family are already active and have a safe place to walk or hike. But, if you’re mostly inactive, you could decide to walk for a certain amount of time each day. You might also start a new exercise program at home, like yoga. I’ve met a whole bunch of people in Shady Pines who’ve learned all kinds of exercise programs online this year.

Break The Mold

Let’s face it. The same old routine is boring. One thing you can say about a new year is that it’s a great excuse to change that same routine of yours.

Beside doing something physical, “something new’ can include reading a new book or learning a new hobby. Have you ever wanted to learn to paint? What about tackling a new language?  You can do these things and more by yourself or with others by setting up screen to screen time. Staying connected is a good way to ease the lonliness that a lot of us have been feeling.

If you ask Edna Sanders, she’d tell you that trying out new recipes is a great thing to do. You know she likes to whip up all sorts of concoctions in her kitchen. She tells me in 2021 she’s going to do more baking and try to win another blue ribbon at the State Fair. Her chocolate chip cookies took Best In Show a few years back. She wants another trophy. That’s her goal!

Agility Training?

Here’s another thing. Starting in January, Edna says she wants to enroll her dog, Boomerang, into an agility training class. It’s no secret that the Australian Shepherd is a herding expert with a special talent for rounding up people. Edna figures that since he’s such an active dog anyway, running through an obstacle course will be good for him. Keeping that mind of his busy is always a challenge, too. There’s just one thing. Edna hasn’t told Boomer about her idea yet and she has no clue how Halley’s Comet will react. Edna is considering whether Boomer and Halley can take the training together.

If you ask me, that may take some convincing. Those two have very different ideas about how to spend their time.

Kindess and Gratitude Always Works

If this year has shown us anything we’ve found it’s all too easy to get stuck in the pit of despair and to focus on everything that’s wrong, instead of what is wonderful and happy. That’s why Shady Pines neighbors lean on one another for support.

As a community we’re going to make 2021 the year of Kindness and Gratitude. That’s our mutual goal. We’re going to resolve to do one nice act each day. This doesn’t have to be something big. Giving someone a compliment or saying ‘have a nice day’ are both simple acts of kindness.

Being grateful for even the simple things is also something we plan to celebrate. Before this year, many of us took the gift of good health for granted. Now, Covid 19 has given us a wake up call. Never has it been more important to appreciate being safe and healthy.

Happy New Year Year Everybody!