January 18, 2021
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The Mid-life Experience A Better Year in 2021

By: Cindy Caruso
January 8, 2021

When 2020 rolled in a year ago, we literally had no idea what lay ahead was a year which would almost defy description.  A year where we would lose loved ones, lose jobs and lose our ability to mingle closely with other people.  In the face of difficulty, humanity has a way of showing up with so much capability, resourcefulness and goodness.  I’ve seen these things in the tireless dedication of health care workers, essential workers and first responders.  I’ve seen them in the creativity and perseverance of teachers and parents who gave their all to make virtual learning a workable experience.  And I saw them in the incredible ingenuity of scientists and others who delivered up a vaccine faster than you can say “Pandemic.”  

The COVID-19 outbreak was the source of so many of our woes in 2020, but we all know it was a year which delivered other challenges, too.  Oh yes, I’m sure that with hopeful hearts, all of us are more than ready to say, “Good-bye 2020, hello 2021!”  

The beginning of a new year is a time when I, personally, feel very inspired.  It’s as though the turning of the calendar from December to January creates something magical inside of me, resulting in a feeling of lightness and a power to shed all that plagued me in the year before.  I view the incoming year with feelings of hope and with the wonderment of new possibilities.  I get all giddy as I ponder my life and goals and I ask myself, “What I can do to make what lies ahead better than what came before?”

This year, however, that question seems to require deeper introspection than it has in the past.  

Oh sure, I could come up with the usual. “Work harder!”  “Accomplish more!” And everyone’s favorite: “Get in shape!”  I have to say I do believe that seeking fitness and health is always a good choice, but this year I am seriously questioning the wisdom in working harder and accomplishing more, or at least in the ways I have defined them. 

When looking at my priorities, I thought hard about how a person zeroes in on what really is most important to them, and then I asked myself, what is most important to me?  Is it the ideals that I have traditionally clung to as worth any sacrifice, or is it the things that actually make me happy?  When I dug deep, I realized they are not always the same.  Hard work and sacrifice for things I really wanted but couldn’t always control, sometimes resulted in a personal cost of my own peace and happiness.  And yet there were some things that were simple and beautiful and could have brought me joy, had I not been in so much of a hurry that I dismissed them.   

All these thoughts left me to ponder what will be my most worthy goals for the coming year.  Will they be greater peace and happiness?  If I say yes and take that road, it will require some courage and some willingness to change.  It will require me giving myself permission to start seeing things differently, and to let go of things that are taking me away from where I want to be.

In the year ahead, I choose greater peace and happiness as my goals.  What will you choose? 

In determining this, you may want to ask the same kinds of questions I did:  What is and isn’t working in your life?  What are you tired of?  What do you long for?  What do you want to stop doing?  What do you want to start doing?  In other words, what do you really, truly want?   When asking, I hope you will look deep for the answers and avoid the temptation to grab the usual suspects or the ones that sit conveniently on the surface.

We have the power to determine the things we really want in the year ahead.  We have the power, in most circumstances, to align our choices accordingly.  This being the case, I am confident that in spite of things that may or may not happen in the world around us, we will find joy, and there will be a better year in 2021.


Cindy works as an employment development counselor and is a mother and grandmother.  She has lived in Sonoma County for 28 years.