What is it about New Years that tugs at our hearts? Perhaps it’s the boundless optimism of the clean slate, new beginnings, limitless potential, and another chance to make it right. Whether or not we make resolutions, our spirits lift with the chance of a fresh start. Alfred Lord Tennyson said, “Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, "It will be happier."
Although nothing magically changes the minute the calendar switches over, there’s just something about the opportunity for a fresh start that energies us and calls to us. But before we look to the future, we’ve taken a look back over 2021.
We didn’t have to look for very long to find things to print in today’s paper. This is our last issue of the year, the issue we use to look back over the last twelve months. Few of us will be sad to bid adieu to 2021. I remember this time last year, when we looked forward to putting 2020 in our rearview mirrors. It has been an epic journey we won’t soon forget, and we are not quite out of the woods yet.
After a few years when many of us have had some really dark moments, we are more than ready for the new year to hopefully sprinkle some hope and light into our lives. Just rest assured that whatever you are feeling, you are not alone. This ongoing pandemic has offered challenges in the way we consume health care, how our students are taught and how we interact with others...and the list goes on and on. We hope and pray for an end only to be faced with another variant and another spike in occurrences. It has made each of us double and triple-check how we are feeling day to day.
Little has been said about the stress COVID-19 has caused and the impact it has had on our collective mental health and well-being. Coping with this ongoing stress in a healthy way will make us, those we care about and our community stronger.
Find something that brings you joy and let yourself do it. Take a walk in the park. Spend the afternoon with a great book or a jigsaw puzzle. Say a prayer. Call your best friend. Slow dance with your sweetie.
Breathe. And, if need be, reach out for help. We are blessed here in the Pine Belt to have a very strong mental health community, and they are there for you.
Here’s to the New Year! To change and fresh starts, new horizons and smiles and fun! While we can’t see into the future, we can still look forward with anticipation and revel in the glorious unknown. As David Bowie said, “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” As I write this, I don’t know what my New Year’s resolutions will be, but I know my aim will be to try new things and make new friends and eat new food. One of my favorite authors is Robin Sharma, and I will close with his valuable advice, “Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.”
Happy New Years y’all!
Christina Pierce is the publisher at Hattiesburg Publishing, which produces The Pine Belt News and Signature Magazine.