2021! The year that everyone thinks will fix the woes of the world! The year that we all get our lives back. The year that will sparkle and shine like no other. Wouldn’t you hate to be 2021? Seems like way too much pressure, and like most New Year’s resolutions, completely destined to fail. This is not pessimism talking, it’s realism and I share my perspective with an open and hopeful heart.

By any measure, 2020 was the most difficult year in modern history. The COVID-19 virus, and the havoc it has wreaked on our health, our jobs, our economy and indeed our entire lives, has created a once in a generation crisis. After a year like this, no wonder the majority of us expect 2021 to be way better. We have lots of reasons to believe this too. With the rapid development of multiple vaccines for the coronavirus, it gives us encouragement that the destruction and isolation of the past 10 months will soon be behind us. Defeating the virus will no doubt also bring some economic recovery and hope for a brighter tomorrow. These predictions are all very real but what isn’t realistic, is to count on a new world and a new life with the simple flip of a calendar.

I don’t know about you, but in almost every holiday greeting I received and every New Year’s post that I read on social media, there was a tremendous focus on kicking a bad 2020 to the curb and bringing on a good 2021. Is it a mistake though to categorize any year into good and bad? Certainly, 2020 had some very disquieting and downright dark spots in it, but it also had many positives. I tend to think that the same thing will be said about 2021 twelve months from now.

2021 may not be a whole lot better than 2020, but it will be different. For human beings generally, the toughest challenges are the unexpected ones. I don’t think anyone, anywhere in the world, was prepared for what we faced last March and beyond. Life probably won’t be all that different, for at the least the first part of this new year, but it won’t be as painful as what we have just lived through. To a great degree, we are now ready for what the year ahead may throw at us. And if we don’t know how to cope, remember we can always look to our children to show us the way. They definitely get the prize for showing the greatest resilience during the twists and turns of our COVID lives.

Since the year ahead may not be the shiny new coin that everyone has been looking forward to, it’s truly time to ditch the resolutions and just sharpen our tools to get through the months ahead. Focusing on gratitude is always good but it will actually be a necessity this year. 2020 was a very tough year but we got through it. We endured great challenges but we survived. This in itself is enough to fill up our gratitude jars. And what about all the amazing things we discovered about ourselves? That our newfound strength, resilience and personal growth can take us through anything? So thank you and Amen to 2020. In many ways, it was the final year of an old way of living and the start of a new future. The Earth very clearly told us that the lives we were living were simply not sustainable and a reboot was in order.

2021 may not be the saviour everyone has been anticipating but, like any new year, it should hold a certain level of optimism. We should all just take a deep breath and hold on tight. We will inevitably get through whatever is ahead for us. But please, let’s not spend our hopes and dreams on “getting back to normal”, but rather embrace the change that was a long time coming. Find the joy. It’s there if we really look for it. If we put in the effort, 2021 will be a year well worth living and we will be better people because of it.

Happy New Year to you all. I look forward to seeing everyone again soon.

My best,
Marie Bates
Principal & Co-Founder
Children’s Garden School