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It is a new year.

366 days of 2020 all reside in our rearview mirror. Armed with survivors' wisdom, we can afford to hope once more while exercising a healthy measure of restraint. I, for one, expect more terrible things to happen. I also expect that in 365 days, as we leave 2021 in our rearview mirror, we will be every bit as eager to rid ourselves of this year and all the trauma it is going to inflict upon us. However, we need not be passive victims of the times we live in, and we can choose to enter 2021 with the strength of our shared experiences and the resolve to live better lives in spite of all that this year might throw in our paths.

New Years Resolutions are often made earnestly, but they are just as often abandoned or forgotten. This year will be different, for me at least, in that my one and only resolution is not only unforgettable to me, but crucial to my survival.

I resolve the following:

I will find a way to accept those things I cannot change, and I will pray for the strength to change the things I cannot accept.

If that sounds familiar, it is from the Serenity Prayer.

I must achieve clarity of control. I need to unburden myself of self-afflicted responsibilities. I cannot make the people around me happy no matter how badly I wish that I could. I base far too much of my own peace of mind upon being liked, upon pleasing others, and far too little upon liking myself or taking care of my own needs. I relinquish control over my own happiness for the sake of a fruitless endeavor to seek the happiness of other people. I have always done this. I feel guilty whenever I do something for myself, as if my efforts or resources were wasted. I feel selfish, and it hurts as surely as an open wound to believe that I could have given of myself to help someone else and chose instead to protect and care for myself.

This year, I resolve to find within myself the clarity and serenity to accept that there are some things I have no control over, and to forgive myself for being a flawed, fragile human being. I will try not to consider myself a failure just because I am incapable of being all things to all people. I will recognize that, especially in recent years, life throws a lot of obstacles in my way that I cannot overcome on my own. I will accept what help comes my way with gratitude. I won't forget those who have been good to me and stood behind me at my lowest moments. I will seek the strength I need to persevere, to struggle through, to climb up when life knocks me down, and pray never to lose hope again as I did in 2020.

Happy New Year, everyone. I count each and every person who reads these words among my blessings.

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