Olivia Newport new year card on deskA few years ago I wrote a post about how my mother’s advice about New Year’s resolutions was that, “A year is a very long commitment. I think I’ll just start with tomorrow.” I remind myself of that often when I feel overwhelmed of my own expectations for myself.

I received this cheery holiday card and liked it so much it’s still in my office reminding me to greet 2021 with a positive attitude, whatever it brings.

In these last few weeks, while we’ve transitioned from 2020 to 2021 but the pandemic wears on and it’s harder than most years to set certain kinds of goals, I’ve found myself reflecting on the surprising ways I grew during 2020 that I might not have if the pandemic hadn’t happened.

Don’t get me wrong. I miss the things that stopped. Going to the gym and the community I had there (and the gym is permanently closed now). Church with choir and rich worship. My 16-year-old book club where Zooming is just not the same as hugs, food, and lively book chatter in a living room. Coffee and lunch dates with friends to break up my longstanding work-from-home life.

But the pandemic brought opportunities to say “Yes.”

When my church organized shepherding groups to meet by Zoom to make sure members of the congregation stayed connected by Zoom, it sounded great to me. When they asked if I’d lead one, I blinked a couple of times but said yes. Because our pastor has had an ongoing very serious illness for most of the year, they needed someone to step in a teach a fall midweek adult class that he normally teaches, by Zoom. A class on spiritual resilience quickly sprang up in my mind. More recently, the leader of the Sunday adult class deviated from the regular format to an exploration of Christian community and recruited my help. I jumped in with some ideas to discuss.

Yes, yes, yes. And there were other opportunities.

Yes to making lots and lots of well-constructed masks for family and friends. Lots.

Yes to helping to pilot a virtual cooking class.

Yes to adapting to exercise classes by Zoom.

Yes to sending texts and notes to people I can’t see in person.

Yes to cultivating an attitude of gratefulness.

Yes to being determined to be generous.

Even as this year brings hope that we see our way out of the pandemic tunnel, I hope that along with me you can look back and see the ways you’ve said “Yes” to opportunities you didn’t expect. And you don’t have to achieve perfection or sustain every triumph without setback.

Just start with tomorrow.