Friday, April 23, 2021

‘Next year’ is here

| January 3, 2021 12:00 AM

My husband and I have an ongoing mantra for whatever obstacles life throws at us to prevent us from getting things done.

“Well, there’s always next year,” we chirp in unison.

Late this fall when I realized I had failed to plant more daffodil bulbs before the weather turned too cold, I lamented my error.

“Well, there’s always next year,” I muttered under my breath, kicking myself because there won’t be as many pretty yellow blooms next spring as I had envisioned.

2020 gave us more than enough reasons to declare “there’s always next year,” to the point where it became a sad, monotonous drone instead of a hopeful declaration. Like most of us, trips were canceled, family gatherings put on hold, extracurricular activities shelved temporarily.

“There’s always next year.”

And now, “next year” is here, and none of us is sure what to expect from 2021. We looked forward to the new year so desperately, but it already feels like a repeat of 2020, at least for now.

I had planned to fly to Texas in February to visit my daughter and her family and intended to use a soon-to-expire Expedia voucher from a trip canceled last April. Now my family is saying I should stay put until I get a COVID-19 vaccine. That makes good sense in my rational thought process, but the irrational side of my brain is tugging relentlessly at my heartstrings. I want to see my loved ones. I want to get out of the house!

It’s going on two years since I’ve been home to Minnesota to see my mother and brothers. We did a Zoom call with Mom a couple of weeks ago and I was saddened by the deterioration in her condition. I would love to visit her before she passes. She’ll be 92 this month; there’s not much time left but she’s still on lockdown in the nursing home.

And so we wait, and wait some more, putting our lives on hold until this pandemic plays itself out. Our patience is wearing thin. We want our old, “normal” lives back. We’ve come this far, though, and we’ll do whatever it takes to keep ourselves and others safe.

Getting back to “normal” will be a gradual process this year, and truthfully, a good portion of 2021 may not be much different than 2020.

Hope for a brighter tomorrow is what pulls us through each gray winter day in the Flathead. The cusp of a new year is a perfect time to anticipate better days ahead. Whether the proverbial glass is half full or half empty depends so much on our state of mind. We trust this will be a happy new year, and it will be if we mindfully count our blessings and name them one by one.

News Editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or