Hello 2021!

Okay, I’ve made it to the year 2021. I spent the latter part of the previous year praying for it to end without a new surprise or emergency. When the new year came, I hoped that it would magically wipe away some of the gloom and desperation I felt in 2020.

It didn’t.

For one, almost everything that I touch and see is a constant reminder of how bad 2020 was. I can’t just hop in a car to visit family. Now there has to be extensive planning involved. Uncomfortable questioning has to take place about the places I’ve been, places they’ve gone, and coronavirus testing. I can’t just pop into a grocery store to get an ingredient I need for a new recipe. Now I have to consider if the visit is worth the potential risk to my life.

And then there’s Multiple Sclerosis.

After being diagnosed at the end of 2020, everything I do now is a constant reminder of how big an event my diagnosis was. I had to start my infusions, which turned out to be a double dose because my doctor wanted to be sure my body could handle the medicine without serious complications.

I took the infusions, and then came the side effects: Loss of voice (something that makes me sound like a cross between Donald Duck and a six-year-old girl). There was insomnia, loss of appetite (although I welcomed that part due to lockdown weight gain), and energy fluctuations that made me tired at weird times of the day.

I genuinely do want to be positive and let go of 2020. But now, it’s like everything around me is a constant reminder of how jacked up 2020 was.

So, what should I do? Dive deeper into depression and alienate all my friends with my “the whole world is crap” personality?

No. Sorry, but I can’t.

I have to tell myself that there are so many other reasons I should be happy. First, after these vaccinations, fewer people will be dying. Families can grieve for their losses and take healthy steps to heal. Doctors will genuinely get the rest and respect they deserve. Kids can play outside with other kids and enjoy the sunshine on their faces.

On a more personal level, on top of being a better person to myself and thanking God for allowing me to see this pandemic through, I’ll be able to hug people again. Travel will open up, and I’ll be able to see the world once more. The NBA and NFL will eventually return to sporting with the physical support of fans.

There are so many positive things I’m looking forward to that it’s sometimes difficult to contain my anticipation. More than anything, I want our lives to continue. Maybe it won’t be as it was, but as long as we open our minds and accept the challenges we encounter, tomorrow won’t be that bad.