Happy New Year 2021 · 1 January 2021

Happy New Year! It is 2021. Time for a new beginning.

I am not sure that I do one every year, but I like to wish my readers (both real and imaginary) a happy New Year. I know that 2020 was a strange year. Stranger than any we have known. Unless of course, you remember the influenza pandemic that happened in 1918-1919. And stranger than any election year than I have ever seen.

The strangest thing about 2020 was that the pandemic was about as polarizing as the election. Which is strange in and of itself. But I do not really want to write about the election or the pandemic. I just want to ask a simple question:

Can we perhaps start having civilized conversation again in 2021?

I know. It seems like a lot to ask these days. After all the prevailing thought nowadays seems to be: “If you do not agree with me, you are an idiot.” And the corollary to that is the simple polarizing thought. “Since you do not agree with me, you are an idiot.” Or more simply put, “You are an idiot.”

I marvel that we have come so far in terms of civilization and public discourse that we have gone to heaving epithets and curses at each other as a matter of course. Sometimes toward people who even agree with us. It is amazing to me that we cannot talk about anything with another person without having a referee present. And even then, things can be heated. And I am just talking about dinner conversation.

Okay. So much for last year. It was certainly not a bust, but I know that I am looking forward to a new year. After all, the New Year seems to symbolize a new start. So here are some things that I hope to start in the new year.

I hope to start exercising again. I hope to be done with Shingles (yes, the pain is still lingering since the last week of August). I hope to be on my computer less and to get my kids off their computers too. I hope to go outside more. I hope to play more music. I hope to create more art. I hope to finish more projects. I hope to be a better servant leader. And I hope to glorify God in all that I do.

My wishes for you are much the same as my wishes for myself. I wish you hope and health. I wish you creativity and calm. I wish you peace and prosperity.

A wish that I have for us all is conversation. Lots of conversation. About simple subjects. About complex subjects. About no subjects at all. And I even wish for us controversial conversations. Without the heat and angst and anger and name calling. Certainly with the emotions. And most importantly with civility and understanding.

The year 2020 is behind us. Perhaps COVID-19 will soon be as well. And perhaps we can leave some of our regrets and baggage behind too.

Happy New Year! I am looking forward to 2021 and its new beginnings.

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

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