The First Month of the Long-Awaited 2021

As January 2021 comes to a close, I’m realizing what a long, rollercoaster of a month it’s been. From the political chaos that ensued earlier this month to vaccinations finally rolling out to the public, the news has been filled with plenty of ups and downs. Personally, January was also a month with many highs and lows. Starting the year with high hopes of fewer COVID-related restrictions, the coming of a new president, and plenty of resolutions to undo the bad habits I had formed in the previous year - whose number shall not be written - was both encouraging and flawed. January may always begin with the hopeful New Year’s Day, but in 2021, the holiday and this month took on a whole new level of importance. 

My New Year’s Day started with a small group of friends and a playful puppy. As we laid on the couch, exhausted from the past year, we stayed rather silent. While we understood that 2021 held great promise for positive change, we also knew that this change would take time. Unlike previous New Year’s, the motivation to start going to the gym, exploring more, and meeting wonderful strangers was low, and frankly, held little possibility. While the year had changed, we, and our stressful situation, had not. 

2021 written in bright light fireworks Photo by Moritz Kröringer from Unsplash

Shortly after the holidays had come to a close, the country entered into political shambles. The U.S. has been a nation divided for years, but we hadn’t seen the kind of behavior expressed at the Capitol in quite some time. I, along with the rest of the world, was disappointed and shocked by our citizens’ actions. Then, a high arose! Vaccines were starting to be distributed to healthcare workers across the country and those 70 and older. Two doses over about a month’s time and we’d be 95% immune to the virus that had dominated and stolen our last 10 months. I myself have been able to receive my first dose of the vaccine and am expected to receive the second in about a week. If you have the chance to help our country reach herd immunity please receive your vaccination! 

I had already been through political distress and a life-saving COVID vaccination, but I still wasn’t ready for what the rest of the month had in mind. President Biden was sworn in on the 20th, with plenty of plans to erase decisions from the past four years and bring the U.S. out of our COVID-caused recession. The country, and dare I say the world, was overjoyed to hear that there was still hope for us. Amongst the national change, I myself was altering my path. I decided to temporarily drop out of CU Boulder, move out of my freshman dorm, and start coursework to complete my long-awaited EMT certification. While this kind of impromptu change is not a common occurrence for a perfectionist like myself (I can’t even begin to explain to you my very extensive planning process), it was a necessary alteration to my life plans. COVID had created a freshman college experience all too different from what I had been imagining for the past four years. While some had more easily adapted to this unexpected situation, I had had an unforgettably difficult first semester. Simply put, I had not been ready for college yet, much less college with COVID.

Change neon light signage Unsplash

For the past week, I have been working my regular job at a COVID-19 testing site, starting my EMT certification course along with two other general education classes, and working on fixing the damage that has been done over the past year’s many surprises. Speaking with friends, family, and coworkers over this past month, I feel confident in saying that we all have a lot to work on throughout the rest of 2021. The pain and confusion from the past 10 months hasn’t been lost in January, but hopes of positive change are on the rise. So recommit or establish your resolutions, take care of yourself, participate in society, and don’t give up hope on this fine new year of 2021. You’ve got this!