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OPINION

GOOD MORNING: How to approach the new year

By Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Jerrie Whiteley

New Year's Eve has always been one of my favorite holidays. For starters, there were no gifts to buy or exchange. There were no huge meals to cook to decorating for it mostly involved just adding a few things to the Christmas stuff that was already up.

Then came 2020. I feel like we are all going to be saying, "then came 2020" about a lot of stuff for a very long time. But having lived through the year that we have all lived through, I find it hard to figure out an appropriate way to celebrate the new year or even plan for it.

Generally, this is the time of the year that everyone joins a gym but we don't even know if those will be open at any given time right now. And many of us need them to be open because we have spent the winter months eating our feelings (and everything else in the house) as we tried to cope with the quarantine. 

Thankfully, the active COVID-19 case numbers have started to dip in our area since Christmas, but the quickest way to get them to rise again would be a raging New Year's Eve party that ignored social distancing and crowd control. So, a big bar crawl is out of the picture for New Year's Eve. To be frank, it was never really in my picture as I have spent too many years covering the court stories about the stuff people get up to on New Year's Eve to ever leave my house that night.

I literally, don't even go to the corner market on New Year's Eve. 

Food is one thing, the one thing, it feels like, that hasn't been taken away from us by this cruddy pandemic, so many of us might be planning some sort of feast for the new year. I have been told they had better include black-eyed peas, corn bread and greens. I am not a superstitious person, but you had better believe my last shopping trip of the year saw me throw a can of those peas in my buggy. I gave up all things bread in 2020 so I don't know about the whole cornbread situation. I'll have to think on that a bit. 

I probably won't wait till the clock strikes midnight to go to bed on New Year's Eve, but I will know when it happens. My east Sherman neighborhood sounds a lot like the wild, wild west at about that time each year, though I have been hearing more and more sounds that are either gunfire or fire works this winter. I am praying for fireworks, though they are setting them off at really odd times. 

Really when it comes right down to it, the most any of us can predict for 2021 is that it will continue to change our world in ways we just can't comprehend today. 

But, I will have to say that 2020 has made for some excellent comedic material from election to masks wearers and those who wouldn't wear them to celebrities run amuck. I have watched several social media posts that caution that instead of "Happy New Year" at midnight on the 31st, we should all shout "Jumanji" in reverence to a movie about a game that turns the world upside down and inside out for its players. At this point, I am wondering if we shouldn't all just go to bed at around 10 p.m. and start the new year getting plenty of rest since 2020 robbed us of so much of that for the last 365 days. 

However you choose to ring in the new year, please remember to do so safely. Don't drink and drive. Tell the people that you love how you feel about them just in case the year that is coming is even harder than the one that is leaving. 

Happy birthday to Maxine Dyke of Sherman.