New Year, Old Problems Don’t Focus on Last Year’s Difficulties

As the sky fills with bright colors from the new year’s firework celebration, people romanticized 2021. Eager to see the world match their fantasy, idealists are starting off the new year in a less than merry way. Art Credit: Kayla Thomas
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It’s the night of New Year’s Eve, and families are sitting in their homes watching the ball drop in Times Square. They’re counting down the clock at the top of their lungs, desperate to escape the disaster of 2020. Yet when the fireworks go off and the sky lights up, everything feels exactly the same. People go to bed and wake up the next morning surrounded by the same problems.

Despite the naivety of it, idealists like me were disappointed when 2020s issues didn’t disappear. Unfortunately, issues like a pandemic, economic deprivation, and massive political divides don’t magically go away. Of course, all of this pales in comparison to the personal tragedies that many people continue to face with the passing of family members due to COVID-19. People are compounding the negative feelings of last year, which isn’t letting this year begin with a new perspective or hope.

Somehow in the middle of all this, Americans are looking forward to President-elect Joe Biden’s term to start. However, President Trump is not letting the new president elect have a peaceful transition of power. Instead, Trump is spreading acidic, controversial statements of how the election was stolen from him, including inciting an armed insurrection against our nation’s capitol. As a young person, it’s disheartening to see my country’s democracy collapsing.

Hopefully the peaceful, calming demeanor that Biden displays will help us get back to the norm. Not only will we have a better president, but also the first female vice president in the country’s history. As a young lady, I can’t express my excitement in watching history be made. On top of all that, Congress won’t be gridlocked by Republicans for the next two years. Hopefully, this will give President Biden a chance to make some real changes. 

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Another topic of 2020 that will be better in 2021 is the COVID-19 vaccination roll out. Even though there have been over 9 million doses dispersed, the results are still undetermined. In Nevada, there have been few vaccinations. About 1,450 out of every 100,000 Nevadans have received their first dose of the vaccine. Our state has gotten 70,000 vaccines since Dec. 14, but only about 29,000 have actually been administered. We’re way behind. There also have been several reports of different people suffering side effects from the vaccine that have ranged from anaphylactic shock to Bell’s Palsy. Thankfully, the number of these cases of negative side effects have been low. However, for the population to achieve herd immunity, meaning half the population has to be immune to COVID-19, millions more would have to be vaccinated before we will really know if we can manage this pandemic. 

With all the social baggage, medical issues, political drama, and just plain stressful times, there is hope. The new year brings us more time to express our appreciation for our lives – even with all these issues. This past year of being home locked in my room and learning online has given me a chance to grow internally, develop self-discipline, and slow down my life to the point where I have learned to appreciate the small things. It’s all those things I never gave a second thought like drive-thrus, takeout, and being with family at home all day and night that puts this life into a whole new perspective. Even when the world gets back to normal, it will still help me to appreciate the little parts of life that I used to take for granted.