What is 2021, this new year, going to look like? Of course, we’re all hoping that it will be better than the last, for sure. For me, I learned a lot in 2020 that I’m resolving to bring with me into 2021. Specifically, the 3 P’s: patience, perspective, and perseverance.

I definitely learned to have more patience in 2020: Patience for my parents, my sibling, my friends, my teachers, and myself. Waiting was literally the name of the game, and it kind of forced me to practice what I preach more, which is a good thing, because sometimes when I was so busy before Covid, I would forget to take that super-important 5 minute mindful break.

A lot of people were really angry or sad about circumstances in 2020, but once I realized that it was all out of my control, I decided to focus on what I could control, and that was how I was interpreting everything and letting it affect me. I saw a post that had a picture of two people on the top and one person said that 2020 was the worst year, and then there was a picture of two dogs on the bottom, and one dog said to the other that 2020 was the best year of its life. Why? Perspective. The dog was so happy that his/her human was home every day and they could enjoy being together. That was a powerful comic for me.

Yes, bad stuff happened in 2020. For me, my grandpa dying was extremely painful. I miss him every day, but I got through it. I’ll always miss him, because we were really close, but I’ll persevere, which is what we do as humans when times are challenging. I feel like one of the best ways to do this is to look around and remind ourselves of the good stuff.

For example, we surprised my younger sister with a swing, and when she walked outside, it was not your typical childhood reaction to receiving a gift. She started crying, real tears… happy tears. She was so overwhelmed with gratitude. Not being able to go to a park for months, and then being surprised by a swing… that’s a pretty big deal. But would she have been overcome with gratitude pre-Covid? Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she would have been grateful and said thank you, probably jumped up and down with excitement. But this was a whole new level of appreciation, and like it or not, we have Covid to thank for that. Thank goodness, we are fortunate to have enough food and a roof over our heads, but I think of her reaction to the swing as if it were like food for a hungry child.

Gratitude is a good lesson to learn for her, for anyone, and when we can experience such profound gratitude, we are living in the present, which lends itself to us being happier. So, in this New Year, when hopefully we will all be healthier and happier, let’s hold onto these lessons and remember to appreciate the little things. Let’s try to communicate more, let go of any anger, take care of ourselves, be kind to others, and take in the good by being grateful and fully present in each moment.

This year I’m excited for our first MBSEL evidence-based research study to begin, and I’m also writing a book about mindfulness for teens which I’m looking forward to. I’m also studying for the SATs (which I’m not looking forward to). But I’m determined to enjoy each moment more, give myself more breaks to practice, and bring all of these lessons (patience, perspective, perseverance, and gratitude) along with me into 2021.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year.