I enjoy reflecting on the events of the ending year, contemplating what went wrong, what went right and how I want to go forward in life.
In my column last year, I said, "As we face going into 2020, I’m going to try to stop saying things like, 'We should do this one day,' and instead actually make the plans."
It was something I made a sincere effort to do, but many of those plans were altered or just canceled.
My friend, Jennie, in Michigan, who I have mentioned several times before, was planning her first trip to the South this year. She was going to visit during the Memorial Day holiday and I had a week of local activities, sight-seeing and traditional Southern meals planned out for her stay with us.
And then, COVID-19 hit and those plans simply turned into a nice thought.
We still want to make this trip a reality, but when? Looking into the new year, it’s hard to tell what the future has in store for us.
While my daily routine has returned to normal for the most part here, Jennie is still working from home every single day as Michigan is under far stricter stay-at-home orders than Mississippi.
It’s gotten to the point where she is depressed because her only interaction during the day is with her cats.
I was recently chatting with a coworker about how anxious I am for the world to return to “normal,” but will we ever see that again?
I don’t feel overly confident because I know we will never wake up one morning and hear on the national news, “COVID is gone forever!”
That simply will never happen, for as long as any of us are alive at least.
And so, will things ever return to “normal”? My coworker seems to think so.
“We are social creatures,” he said. And while that’s true, there were changes already being made with our social interactions before COVID came along.
With our modern-day technology of being able to have “face to face” conversations using our phones and computers, there’s a lot of argument to be made for staying the way we are now.
But I don’t want that.
Younger generations are probably coping with this pandemic better than the rest of us.
Even before COVID, youngsters seemed to already start forgetting how to conduct a regular face-to-face conversation because they are accustomed to typing out their words and thoughts rather than speaking them aloud with their family and friends.
When my nephew was visiting this weekend, I continuously tried making small talk. My only responses were that of mumbled words and his eyes never averting from his phone. I finally gave up on trying to make conversation and I walked away.
He was never phased, whether I was speaking to him or not.
His behavior isn’t unusual, I am seeing this in most teenagers and young adults now.
The thought of our society never returning to the way we once were honestly makes me sad.
Will my children only have memories of people wearing face masks out in public?
Will my children ever get to attend shows and dances with their peers like I had the opportunity to do growing up?
Will my children know what it’s like to go to skating rinks, shopping malls, and public pools in the summer?
Will my children know how it feels to hug someone without fear of catching a disease?
Will my children know how it feels to have a birthday party with all of their friends?
The scary answer is, I’d like to think so, but I just don’t know.
And so, I think I have the answer to my New Year’s resolution.
Going into 2021, I simply want to live my life the best I can and cherish every moment I have with my family and friends.
Of course, we will be careful and take as many precautions as we can to not get sick or potentially spread any diseases.
But I cannot live the rest of my life in fear. I refuse.
I want my children to live as normal a life as they possibly can, or at least as much as I can make it that way for them.
Just because this pandemic is happening doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our lives. Go outside and play. Take trips while using the same safety precautions you do at home. Do what makes you happy.
After all, it was Aristotle who once said, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence. And happiness depends upon ourselves.”
Catherine Kirk is managing editor of the Delta Democrat-Times. She can be reached at email@example.com.