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Focusing on the 'Now' in 2021


  • Elisa Järnefelt

Many of us have talked about 2020 as if this year was a curveball-throwing creature that we all collectively hate. I assume we all know that the year has no mind of its own. Yet, there lingers a silent anticipation that something will drastically change when the new year arrives. I am cautiously hopeful that in 2021 vaccines will arrive and eventually we can stop social distancing. But I know that when I wake up on January 1st, there is still a long way to go.

My 3-year-old daughter's understanding of time is still free from numbers and learned cultural expectations. For her, there are really just two concepts: "Now" and "Other Day." Now is this moment. Other Day is any day after Now.

Sometimes, it is important for her to know that — although something is not happening Now — it will happen on an Other Day. Sometimes, we even make calendars to track time and to understand when the Other Day is here. But that is mostly just for fun. Everything that really matters happens in the Now.

So, when 2020 ends and 2021 begins, I will do my best not to focus on the numbers, or to feel the need for immediate change. Instead, I will try to see my days as a series of Nows, because that is where everything truly important takes place. 

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.