2020 has become a byword for disaster. Lots of people were affected in lots of ways. We had a pandemic, causing economic duress for many. We had riots in the streets, leaving billions in damages. We had a tumultuous election cycle, bringing us… who knows what? I think it is safe to say that most of us are ready for 2020 to go away.
Which brings us to 2021!
We never know what comes next, but most of us look forward with some measure of hope. We make resolutions, set goals, dream dreams, bet big on our future. And why not? It is hard to get out of bed if our vision is for a cold, bleak future.
Not being a fan of resolutions, I thought about what I could do going forward that would make my life, and the lives of those I encounter, better. Goals, dreams, bets are not enough to get the job done. So, instead, I have come up with a list of 21 ways forward for me in 2021, call it 21 in 21.
Now, this list has the advantage of being flexible. In 2020 I committed to reading 50 books. I “only” read 48. Did I fail? Studies show that the average American reads 12 books each year, so I would say no. My commitment made me read, so I succeeded. On this list there are numbers, but only to set some kind of measure and to keep me going. Plus, I wanted to see how many “I will do 21…” type things I could come up with.
Here is my list. I will take each listed idea and expand it into a daily paragraph for the next 21 days. Why? That makes me accountable to family and friends, and next year those posts will come up in my Facebook memories and I can enjoy my success, or at least admire my efforts.
21 in 21: My Way Forward (in no particular order of priority)
- Find 21 ways to help a person in need
- Write a book
- Give 21 gifts
- Buy a condo on the Gulf
- Visit 21 churches
- Landscape our yard
- Discover and prepare 21 new meals
- Drink 21 new-to-me wines
- Scan all of my family’s old slides
- Read a book each week
- Read a new-to-me version of the New Testament
- Start an inspirational/teaching YouTube channel
- Discover 21 new-to-me musical artists
- Watch 21 movies
- Design and build more innovative speakers
- Revive the Harmony Lane Neighborhood Watch
- Write and mail 21 letters
- Call 21 old friends
- Lose 21 pounds
- Regain full mobility, flexibility, and stability
- Write and publish 21 blog posts
Of course, I will do other things this year, and I won’t do all these in 21 days! But I will not climb Mt. Everest, I will not run for public office, I will not discover the cure for cancer. So let us be realistic. The beauty of my list is that these are layered efforts that can happen at the same time and evolve over the course of the year.
A friend of mine told me when you retire, you die. I presume that is because, to him, work is the thing of value. I value life, so it is important to me to find new ways to move forward, ways to stay out of a rut, ways to keep on living. And another friend told me, many years ago, that failing to plan is planning to fail. So I have a plan.
I think this sums it up nicely:
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16
Redeem the time. Cash it in for value, make the best use of it, do what you can with the days ahead, for your own benefit and the impact those actions will have on others.
21 in 21. I think the new year has some great potential, but 2021 will be what we make of it.