2021: Three Favors, One Resolution

Yes, it’s 2021! Hallelujah!

There’s light at the end of that long tunnel called 2020, and as I emerge into that light I’m going to ask 2021 for three favors.


It’s easy for me to forget I live in my whole body because I spend a lot of time in my head. I suspect that’s true for a lot of us who love to write and love to read and who make the time to do it. But inside our heads can be a dark place, too – not dark as in frightening, but dark as in isolating. It’s important to remember the delivery system for our brains involves our lungs, bones, blood, and skin. Without them the inside of our heads go completely dark. As in kaput. My mortality is not something I need to be thinking about all the time, but reminders (there have been plenty this year) like Covid-19 push me out of my head into the open air, send me out into the neighborhood or over to the beach for walks and fresh air. More, more, more of this, 2021, are you listening? Help push me out the door.


To feel creative, I first need a little noise. Not a lot. But I’m at my happiest if there are people moving around, some chatter, doors opening and closing, kids playing, the goings and comings of a real world, the scene turning over in a kind of tidal way, bit by bit, as I watch and listen. Noise – the kind you get at a good coffee shop. The kind you get when you’re walking down a street in Rome, London, Paris, San Francisco, Oaxaca, anyplace new that’s filled with people. The kind you get in a public market or when you’re singing with a choir. Later, silence is fine. But first, give me a world that’s boisterous and rambunctious. I’m looking forward to more noise, 2021, please!


Who knew that it was possible to miss touching people? To miss giving someone a little kiss to say hello, hugging them to say goodbye. Shaking hands when you say, “Nice to meet you.” Sitting down next to someone else, not worried about the distance between you. Such an undervalued thing until this last year. Proximity. Rubbing shoulders. Touch. I long for that most basic and most lovely of our senses, 2021. So please, more.


There’s one other thing, but I have to thank 2020 for it. Last year helped me remember that the word “essential” applies to just about everyone who works hard to make our daily lives work, often without the respect they deserve. So I’ll toss in this one resolution, after asking for three favors: I’m going to remember, 2021, to let those essential workers know whenever I can how grateful I am.

16 responses to “2021: Three Favors, One Resolution

  1. Happy new year, Julie! May your wishes all come true for all of us.

  2. Thanks, Laura! You’re one of the people I long to have over for tea and talk!

  3. Amen

  4. Lovely piece Julie. Here’s to a little noisy, rambunctious closeness for everyone in 2021.

  5. Thanks, Sarah – here’s to more shared Monday Movies!

  6. Yes to all of this! Hoping we can hug sometime in the new year!

  7. So happy to welcome 2021! Thanks for all you have said. And YES to everything you said…. except… please no more archaic European culture of shaking hands. People are not good at washing their hands anytime, and even after using the bathroom. It’s bacteria’s way of transferring easily. The bacteria drives the bus. Truly. They have even done studies of how some bacteria and parasites influence behavior in animal and human brains. Hugs for people you know and love are great! But for greetings, I hope more people try the Japanese way of nodding or bowing to recognize and respect others. Happy 2021!

  8. Anna Maria Polidori

    Happy New Year! ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

  9. Happy 2021! Love your list! I must say that I don’t miss shaking hands.I’m liking the elbow taps, LOL. But everything else, yes!

  10. Maybe I just miss the handshake because of its long tradition? Let’s make a bump-elbows tradition!

  11. Or, as Elizabeth B. suggests, a Japanese bow, nice and calm.

  12. I felt like you were reading my mind with this lovely piece of writing.

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