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5 Things to Look Forward to in the New Year

January is a powerful time to remember that the year ahead will hold long sunny days, new movies and TV shows and summer’s first tomato!

Summer's first tomatoes
Credit: Getty Images

“The sun will come out tomorrow,” sang Annie in the famous musical. To me, that memorable song isn’t literally about the day that will come immediately after this one. Instead, it’s about a future that promises sunshine, newness, growth and change.

Because we talk in this space about authentic positivity that acknowledges and embraces the full range of human emotion, it’s important to note that not all tomorrows will have blue skies and singing birds. There will be challenge, struggle, worry and even fear.

But when we intentionally name beautiful things that lie ahead—one day or a hundred days from now—we keep our minds in balance and preserve the hope and optimism that fuels our well-being, even (especially?) on days that are noticeably less than sunny.

As the new year dawns, here are five things I’m especially looking forward to.

1)  The Cycle of Seasons

When my Godson was a toddler, I used to invite him to my house to “search for spring.” We would creep (or squish, in the muddy season) around my garden and squint at the ground in search of the spring bulbs poking their tiny green noses above the soil for the first time. My Godson is in college now, in his own new season of life. Noticing the cycle of the year as it moves through its seasonal rhythms is an energizing feeling—and it always gives us something to look forward to.

2)  Celebrations

Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations—all of our celebrations have endured a year of changes, of quieting, of simplifying. As we hope for the coronavirus vaccine and a return to more normal ways to mark special moments, we’re not quite there yet. But no matter how we observe those days, it does not change the fact that each birthday, each milestone is a precious gift. And we can still celebrate each one with grateful hearts and eager anticipation.

3)  Changing the Clocks

Thinking about the first night after we “spring forward” (2 a.m. on March 14, mark your calendars!) makes me feel warmer already. That first evening stroll around the neighborhood in the luxuriously elongated dusk is a promise of the warm days to come—as well as a reward for having weathered the winter. 

4)  Favorite TV Shows

The pandemic has brought many of us to our couches to fall in love with TV shows and movies that keep us excited, entertained and engaged. The new year brings a return of some of our favorites, which can feel as soul-nourishing as a reunion with a cherished friend. I’m especially excited about the spring 2021 Netflix arrival of a new season of the Israeli family drama Shtisel and the return this month of my favorite network program, This Is Us. I am also combing my friends’ social media feeds for tips on new programs I will need to add to my viewing rotation.

5)  The First Perfect Summer Tomato

Every gardener looks forward to the first evidence that their efforts to nurture their little piece of the planet into green, growing things has come to fruition. For me, that rewarding feeling comes in stages, from the tender lettuce leaves of early spring to the first crisp snap pea to the blooms on my fruit trees. 

But what I look forward to most is that first perfect tomato, a juicy orb that’s just perfect sliced onto a good piece of bread with a smear of mayonnaise and a sprinkling of fresh basil leaves. To produce something that deeply flavorful, that vibrantly colored and that perfectly fragrant is something I marvel at in the moment—and enjoy anticipating during fireside winter daydreams.

What are you looking forward to in 2021?

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