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the occasions lady and

Hope for a New Year
by Audrey Poff, illustration by Brittney Guest Osborn

I never go to sleep early on the last day of a bad year. If the year has been particularly unkind, let’s say, for example, in the case of a global pandemic, I make certain that I stay awake until the last few seconds of the year are ushered out. For most of us, 2020 was that kind of year, and we were happy to slam that door shut.

Although experts caution that 2021 may bring about the darkest days of the pandemic, the new year also offers hope. With the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines already under way, health officials say a successful vaccination campaign could help the country approach herd immunity by the end of summer. Reaching a “normality” that is close to where we were before the pandemic, they say, could take until the end of 2021.

It’s hard to believe that one year ago we had no idea that we were on the verge of a global pandemic and that our lives would be forever changed by a bat virus in China. As much as I would like to paint a happy little picture of 2021 in my mind, I realize that the pandemic will not end as soon as most of us would like.

Although my daughters and I have had COVID-19 and may have some short-term immunity, other members of our family have not. For that reason, we continue to try to limit our exposure to others. For now, it’s simply safer to continue wearing a mask and to practice social distancing until the vaccines are available. Until then, I’ll remain hopeful about 2021 while I work on my post-pandemic bucket list.

Here are a few things I’ll be excited to do again when the pandemic ends:

Post-Pandemic Bucket List
• Celebrate birthdays
• Go see a new movie at the movie theater
• Travel by plane
• Play with our grandsons living in Oklahoma City
• Go to church
• Hug people
• Have dinner with friends and family
• Take my parents to visit places they enjoy
• Go to a concert
• See a Broadway show
• Go to the beach

There is hope for 2021, but for now, stay safe and work on your bucket list.