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The sound of this new year will be a collective sigh of relief as 2020 dwindles to its last few days. As another calendar year begins, although largely symbolic, it signals a renewal of purpose and intent to improve and excel beyond what has been. Many New Year toasts embody this rite of passage including the often-used Irish blessing, “May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future.”

The famous American-born poet, T.S. Eliot, referenced a New Year with new beginnings: “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” And, for those who resolve every year to break old, undesirable habits, a humorous quip… “May all your troubles during the coming year be as short as your New Year’s resolutions.”

Through sincere and humorous toasts to an advanced number of the calendar, a change of attitude is requisite for many of us. Resolutions to react to adversity with more composure and understand elements of divergent opinions with respect should be among the promises made to create greater harmony with family, friends and associates. Can this be the resolution that defies short-lived adherence?

Our tolerance for patience and respect of community health and welfare has been sorely tested by a pandemic that refuses to relent or acknowledge weak collective responses. On the political and social scene, virtual gatherings and meetings have, by necessity, replaced face-to-face encounters. The effect has been a reduction of community activity and oversight. With the advent of effective vaccines, this will change in 2021, but probably remain in place for at least the first quarter of the new year. Fortunately, through electronic means we can still communicate and most civic meetings are available for review at city websites. Hopefully, residents will continue to engage with each other and remain aware of proposals, changes and votes by their elected representatives.

We have all, at one time or another, suffered the consequences of fleeting attention to New Year resolutions. But, in the midst of a pandemic, the aftermath of an especially brutal campaign year and civil unrest, this may be a good time to pay special attention to attitudes and introspection. Some New Year resolutions compare this moment to a new book, yet to be written; let’s write a good one! Although only a tick of the clock’s second hand separates the old year from the new, in that moment, we can all join a toast attributed to Oprah Winfrey… “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

Tri-City Voice echoes the words of Albert Einstein: “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”