Welcome 2021!

Between the novel coronavirus, Trump and natural disasters, 2020 has been a rough year.

But we did survive and will have our nontraditional New Year’s Eve celebrations at home, watching the great crystal ball drop over the Times Tower in New York City at midnight.

Other columnists will lament 2020. I do not want to bore you with that.

I want to look ahead to 2021 and beyond.

I want to look forward to celebrating a year of political and social peace among neighbors.

My immediate goal for 2021 is to get the coronavirus vaccine as soon as it is available.

I am in the higher risk category because of my age, but my health is excellent, so I do not expect to get the shot in the arm until the spring.

My other goals are to get back out on the golf course and to dust off my home gym and lose the COVID-19 pounds I have gained.

Then there is my wish for winning one of the big lotteries so I do not have to work for my remaining years, but I realize you must first buy a ticket. That is the drawback to every system of easy money.

For some of you, it may be the first time in a long time that you did not or will not go to a family or company Christmas or New Year’s party.

You’ll stay at home with your loved ones and celebrate together.

For some of you, it will be off to bed early so you don’t interrupt your normal sleeping habits.

For the rest you, it may be binge-watching movies, “Law and Order,” “Star Trek” or other shows because COVID-19 knocked the celebration out of you.

Many of you may be waiting with bated breath for the bills from the Christmas and Hanukkah gifts you bought to arrive, looking carefully at your January budget, leafing through your actual online shopping lists, hoping you did not bust your budget by simply over-clicking your mouse.

For those of you who went to the mall or to your local small retailer to shop this holiday season, thank you.

You helped keep thousands of workers at their jobs and hundreds of businesses open. The brick and mortar stores will come back to life once we are no longer afraid of going outside our homes.

There is good news, bad news and good news from the Columbia Mall. The good news is that J.C. Penney came out of bankruptcy in December.

The bad news is the closing of more than 150 stores nationwide in 2021.

The good news is that the Columbia and Jefferson City stores are not on that list.

I want to acknowledge the Small Business Development Centers and the Small Business Administration in Columbia, Kansas City and St. Louis for providing virtual seminars, services and mentoring while I get my consultancy, training and coaching business up and running full-time.

I would also like to thank the nurses and doctors, such as Kathy, my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law, all in the medical field, and the other first responders who are putting their own lives at risk to care for others.

There is a lot of hope in our nation today. Hope that the transition of power to the new administration is smooth and without incident.

Hope that the Biden administration can keep its promise to bring the nation together while correcting the decisions of the previous administration.

Hope that the COVID-19 vaccines are fairly distributed and work the way they have been promoted.

Late last week, Congress finally passed a new COVID-19 stimulus bill, which the president signed on Sunday, just in time to prevent thousands from being forced out of work and their homes, and the military grinding to a halt for lack of funding.

The bill provides $600 to those individuals who paid their taxes in 2019. There is an additional $300 a week to those collecting unemployment.

Funding for schools and transportation is also included in the new budget and relief package from the feds.

I am looking forward to continuing to write my columns in 2021. I am looking forward to receiving feedback from you and from my three “favorite” readers, even though their responses are mostly negative.

I am looking forward to meeting my new great-grandson and being able to get the family together to celebrate yet another trip around the sun.

Maybe 2020 will end on a happy note.

May 2021 bring you peace and good health.

About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.

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