By Natalie Taylor
On Jan 1 we crumpled the last page of the 2020 calendar (those of us who still have paper calendars), took a deep breath and looked with hope at the first page of the new year. This was to be the marker of happier times to come. Sort of like the walk down the aisle with your new spouse. Sadly, the honeymoon lasted less than a week for US residents and expats because on Jan 6 we had to live through the horror of an unprecedented coup attempt on our democratic government. It was as if 2020 had never left, and we had been saddled with another year of unsettling, stress-inducing events. But, let’s just chill and call that event the final throes of a nasty, moribund year. Let’s reset and think of all the good to come:
- Spring: Figuratively and literally, a rebirth. Longer and warmer days, open windows, outdoor gatherings.
- Socializing: Yes, actual get-togethers with friends near and far as we look at the very real prospect of being able to travel again. Even if you don’t go to an exotic locale, isn’t it lovely knowing that you could?
- NASA’s Perseverance: The new rover will land on Mars on Feb. 18. This is a major event for further robotic exploration of the red planet and a search for potential life there.
- The Tokyo Olympics: Postponed because of the pandemic last year, it has been moved to July of 2021. We’ll have the opportunity to watch and enjoy the beauty of some of the fittest people around the world competing with each other.
- A jab in the arm: Who’d think we’d be looking forward to that? But as COVID-19 vaccines roll out—even if it takes time—immunity will be something worth waiting for.
- Positive global climate policies: The EU has sealed its plans on reducing carbon emissions and directing funds toward clean energy alternatives. China has pledged to go carbon-neutral by 2060 and other nations have followed suit. And as of Jan. 20, the new US president has rejoined the Paris Accord.
- Crowds: Won’t it be nice to go back to our normal, social demeanor as a colony of human ants? Whether at a concert, a sporting event, or simply striding along on a sidewalk, being surrounded by humanity is something many of us cherish.
- Cicadas: For those who like insects, parts of the U.S. this year will experience the largest and widest-ranging cicada broods. It’s a natural occurrence that only takes place every 17 years. But we could consider it a cultural event if we follow the Japanese example where they celebrate by gathering to watch the adult insects emerge from the ground, and collect and count the nymphal shells!
- Hugs: I leave the best for last. Do we really need to explain what’s so good about this?