• Valerie Carter

Looking Forward in 2021

Updated: Jan 20




I recently woke up in the middle of the night remembering an awful experience. The more time I spent fretting about it, the more my anxiety level rose. It took me a number of stressful hours before I realized something important. I needed to let it go. Yes, just like the Frozen song. So I decided then, my motto for 2021 would be just that- “let it go.” I decided to leave the past in the past.


If ever there was year worth putting behind us, it was 2020. It was a trying year of unspeakable loss, disappointment, hardship and misery. Businesses, jobs and opportunities were lost. Proms, parties, graduations, weddings, and celebrations of life and of death, all were missed. It was year of anger, frustration, disagreement and disappointment. The country was in tremendous upheaval and we as a nation were terribly disconnected. We were divided even amongst family and friends.



Was there any good that came out of 2020? Yes!

After our collective year of enduring a pandemic, many of us may be wiser, less stressed, more appreciative, more intuitive, more relaxed, happier, less materialistic, healthier, more family-oriented, more skilled, more spiritual. Maybe. Truth be told, it was a year that both weakened and strengthened us all.


How to embrace 2021? Let’s start now in January!


  • The month of January is National Blood Donor Month. Blood donations have dropped off during the Pandemic, help others in need by giving a bit of yourself.

  • On January 18th, honor Martin Luther King by volunteering your time and effort on MLK Day. It is an official day of service. One idea might be to write a letter to an elderly resident at a local assisted living facility? It would be uplifting to some shut-in to receive such a note.

Grace signs "HUG"
  • On January 21st, let’s hug. It is National Hugging Day. By releasing oxytocin, hugging helps to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Wait, we are still in a pandemic, so how about the safer alternative and sign the word hug to those not in your immediate circle.


  • On January 24th, celebrate National Compliment Day by delivering some nice words to those around you. Positive expressions to others shows kindness and respect. Can’t think of any, here are some ideas to say or sign to others:

  1. I love your outfit (or shirt, hair, etc …)

  2. You have a nice smile!

  3. I really like what you have done (with your garden, house, hard work…)

  4. You always make me laugh.

  5. Thanks for having such a great attitude.



  • January 31st ends the month with Inspire Your Heart with Art Day. Art has the beautiful ability to invigorate, inspire and offer an enriching way to embrace being human!


The new year signifies a fresh start. There is a new administration entering the White House. COVID vaccines are being distributed and we can now optimistically navigate our way into 2021. As Albert Einstein said, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”



Let’s be hopeful as we focus on the future.There is much to be encouraged by and to look forward to. I personally am hoping for better communication between people, breaking down the barriers, accepting the differences of all us and acknowledging each other’s wonderful uniqueness. In 2020, we were brought to our knees by COVID, a virus that affected us all, despite our differences. We are all simply human. It has been humbling and enlightening indeed.


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