Yes, we couldn’t go anywhere for the longest time. Yes, we still can’t go to crowded places. Yes, we can’t visit with people outside our households. We wear masks. We wash our hands constantly. We deal with pandemic life on the daily, and it’s not easy. Several silver linings appeared for me early on, however. One involves a re-awakening, a re-dedication, a re-igniting of a spark that I will do my best not only to keep lit but to make even larger.

During the COVID year of 2020, the virus and its challenges, along with amplified political strife, reminded me of some things. Things I let fade to the background in the hustle and bustle of adulting. Things that were deflated by the exhaustion of the past four years (no matter what side you’re on, this soon-ending presidency has been tiring, to say the least). Things that for whatever reason were fuzzy but regained crystal clear clarity, the kind that only the threat of a deadly diagnosis (and/or a threat to democracy) could inspire.

I will speak out, especially at times when I may have held my tongue in the past.
I will do more when I can, when I should, and perhaps even when I shouldn’t, because somebody has to — we all have to.
I will stay as awake as 2020 made me and strive to do more, to participate more, to help create change where it’s needed.
I will work to make change. Don’t look for me on the sidelines because that’s not where I’ll be.

I will engage and stay engaged. Engage is my word for 2021. I’ll assist those who work for equality, justice, fairness, and peace. Of course, I’ve done this work in the past and I’ve supported organizations that do it every day. 2020, however, has awakened an even stronger desire to do a lot more. And so I will.

My inspiration song for 2021, the one that will especially help if I’m feeling tired or frustrated at lack of/slow progress: Let It Be Me by Indigo Girls. I’ve been singing this song since 1992. It was relevant then, it’s been relevant through the years, it’s extremely relevant now. Let this inspire me, especially on the days when life tries to dull my shine or silence my song. And may I find those with similar views so they, too, can sing along.

Then you see turning out a light switch is their only power
When we stand like spotlights in a mighty tower
All for one and one for all, then we sing the common call
Let it be me (this is not a fighting song)
Let it be me (not a wrong for a wrong)
Let it be me
If the world is night, shine my life like a light