Be selfish, reflect this New Year


Photo Courtesy of Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

People wait to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square on Dec. 31, 2019 in New York City.

By Shivali Shukla, Assistant Special Sections Editor

New year, new you. 2020 was the epitome of changes. The year witnessed bushfires ravage Australia, the tragic losses of Kobe and Gianna Bryant, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Chadwick Boseman, among many others, the impeachment and acquittal of President Trump, the historic election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to lead our country, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s departure from the royal family, increased support for the Black Lives Matter movement and, of course, a global pandemic.

Whatever your 2020 New Year’s Resolution was, your lifestyle certainly changed this year and that’s blatant. As you celebrate overcoming what was likely one of the harder years of your life, maybe this year is the year of reflection. While you won’t get to visit Times Square, might not be able to hit the bars and probably won’t see a crowd at your New Year’s Eve banger, you can still ring in the New Year in some of the following ways. 

If you’re finding yourself idle at home, make a scrapbook or a memory jar. You might not have concert tickets and movie stubs to put inside them, but you likely have photos and other paraphernalia to commemorate what this year has meant to you. Or you can decorate a jar for 2021, sprinkle it with some good vibes and high hopes and anticipate all the memories you might fill it with in the next year.

If you’re feeling a little down, make a list of all your accomplishments and happiest memories of 2020. This year has definitely been the year to count our blessings. It’s been filled with a lot of negativity and disappointment, and we often neglect to acknowledge the positives. Maybe you got a new puppy in quarantine, maybe you got closer to someone you didn’t know very well, maybe you exercised more or maybe you just learned how to use Zoom. Whatever it is, you did at least one thing this year that made you better. Write it down.

Alternatively, write down all the negative things that happened to you on a piece of paper. This might bring back some unwanted memories, but here comes my favorite part — shred it or burn it. It’s like a purge of all Bad Things circa 2020. You lived it, you conquered it and now you’re moving forward with a tail of fire behind you (or paper crumbs).

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Generate a little holiday spirit for yourself. If you were looking forward to your annual New Year’s Eve party, you can decorate your apartment or home with 2021 decorations, make a virtual toast with those who couldn’t make it and watch the Times Square ball drop. You can follow up with a holiday-themed movie and desserts or a party game. You can try Scattergories or Family Feud or even try some virtual games on Zoom. Maybe your mom wants to learn how to play Among Us.

As you might do any other year, write down a list of resolutions. Make sure you slip in several that you know you can attain along with a couple that might give you a challenge. Keep the pandemic in mind and think about what your life might look like next year. A lot of things are uncertain, but consider what will make you happy. If this year taught me anything, it taught me to take care of myself and my loved ones. Whether that means giving up a toxic habit or working hard to create a good one, your resolutions are your chance to reflect and focus on you.

Whatever your plans are, whatever you’ve been through and whatever lies in your future, you might like to look at this New Year as a fresh slate. It’s been a whirlwind of a year, and we have a long road ahead of us, but I’m proud of you, Illini. I hope you have a very safe and happy holiday season!


Shivali is a senior in AHS.

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