What will my new year’s resolution be? This is a question I have been pondering upon for the past few weeks. The year 2020 was far from what I expected it to be. With unpredictable things happening around the world, and watching my relatives pass away, there was a feeling of dismay, agony, anxiety and worry settling in the air. The streets were empty. I did not know how badly I’d miss embracing my friends until I was sitting in the corner of my room, reminiscing the moments that have passed away, while remaining anxious about the uncertain future. All I had was one thing going through my mind; will I or my loved ones, be able to survive this pandemic?

2020, a year when everything changed drastically. Was it a kind of change I expected to happen? No. Was it a positive change? I don’t know. When I was in isolation, I got a chance to work towards my dreams. To block away the negative thoughts running through my mind, I would pour my feelings onto the pages of my diary, weaving metaphors, and poetry, until I felt relieved. My daily routine consisted of freelancing, online classes, and studying. Although I could not earn well, the skills I learned proved to be immensely vital for me.

What does 2021 have in store for me? I don’t know. But, there are a few things I have decided to put into my 2021 resolution list.

  1. In 2021 – I Choose to Forgive

I choose to forgive my friends for all those times they were unaware of how hurtful their words or actions might have been to me. I choose to forgive my parents for all those times they neglected my emotional needs because they were too busy dealing with problems of their own.

I choose to forgive my past self for making the wrong decisions, for prioritizing the wrong people, and for loving the wrong lovers. In 2021, I choose to forgive myself for doing a job that paid me less than the hours I put in, and I choose to forgive myself for accepting less than I deserved. I choose to forgive the friends I no longer speak to, but only God knows how much I want to tell them ‘I miss you.’ I choose to forgive the people who left without closure, and I choose to forgive the lovers who abandoned me for another. I choose to forgive myself for expecting respect from people who caused me nothing but sheer embarrassment. 2021 might not be the year when I’d be the happiest. However, 2021 will finally be the year when I choose forgiveness over envy, anger, frustration, and grief. May 2021 be the year when I finally move on.

  1. In 2021 – I will be open to love

In the past, I had unfavorable luck in love. Perhaps it was because I accepted less than I deserved. Even when people hurt me, and cheated on me, I tried finding excuses to forgive them. Why? Because I had a belief that people had pure intentions towards me, just like I had for them. It wasn’t until a few months back, realization dawned upon me like an epiphany, that life is cruel. People are cruel. In a generation where people look for ways to hook up and attain one-night stands, I was the kind of person who believed in the magic of true love and soulmates.

One of the major mistakes I’ve committed was to believe that people felt for me, the way I felt for them. Despite how much people have let me down in the past, in 2021, I choose to believe in love. “I am a good person, with a good heart. I deserve to be loved, the way I love those around me. I deserve someone who writes poems about me at 3 a.m under the warmth of his blanket. I deserve to be appreciated. I deserve someone who appreciates me for me, and not tries to mold me into who he wants me to be. I deserve someone who motivates me to be the best version of myself that I can be. I am a person with a painful past, but that does not mean I don’t deserve to live miserably. I know I deserve to be happy. I deserve to feel fulfilled. I deserve the very best, and the universe will grant that to me. God is listening, God knows. All the love I gave to the wrong people, will one day come back in the form of a person who will make me fall in love with myself, someone who will make me fall in love with life.” I mutter these words of affirmations to myself every day, and you should too. Because life is too short to spend your time waiting for people to see your worth and love you back.

I used to think that love was only for the weak. I was fearful of the word ‘love’. I used to think that love was not worth it. Because when you love someone, you give them the ability to hurt you, in any way possible. I used to think that love made a person surrendered, vulnerable, and weak. But at the end of the day, love is all we have, love is all we’d ever need. Because when people die, love is the only thing that stays, in between the lines of the love letters they exchanged, in the letters of the names they inscribed on a tree, in the air of the bedroom they’d make love and wrap their arms around each other falling asleep. Love is one of the most crucial aspects of life.

Love can be your mother, or it can be your sibling. Love can be a friend who lives far away or a relative you haven’t seen in ages. Love can be your best friend, and it can be a teacher who teaches you the way of life. Love can be a book you’re attached to or a song you groove to. Love can be anything and everything. A love that makes you weak is not love. A person who claims to love you, but causes you nothing except grief, and sorrow, is not worth holding onto.

Love makes you strong. It gives you the courage to face the world. Love makes you vulnerable, yet, it gives you the strength to face, even the deepest of your fears, worries, and struggles.

In 2021, I will be open to love. I will love strangers, and I will love my friends. I will love my family members, and I’d love the work I do. With so much going on around the world, with so many hate crimes and mass shootings occurring, love is that one thing we need desperately, to make living life, a little more bearable.

  1. In 2021 – I will be open to new opportunities

I am no longer fearful of trying things out of my comfort zone. I want to try things I’ve never tried before, and I want to do things I’ve never done before. I want to speak with people who belong to different cultures and I want to speak with people who are more successful than me in my field of work. I want to learn new skills and gain more knowledge through high vibrational experiences. I choose not to accept less than I deserve because as a creative writer, I put all of my hard work, dedication, and commitment into a piece I’d create. I choose to remain open to new opportunities and attract partners who will help pull me up and build up my self-esteem, instead of demeaning me constantly.

  1. In 2021 – I will Heal

Healing is something I have always been curious about. How do people deal with the pain? I always wondered. How do people heal? My question was answered when I was scrolling through Instagram one day and came across a poem by the author Ijeoma Umebinyuo. To quote from her book Questions for Ada, the words that touched the deepest core of my heart were,

“Healing comes in waves

and maybe today

the wave hits the rocks

and that’s ok,

that’s ok, darling

you are still healing

you are still healing.”

It was then when I realized, that I might not know, but perhaps my healing comes in the face of depressive episodes and nights when I’d cry myself to sleep. And now, deep down in my heart I know, I will heal. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but I will.

In 2021, I will heal my relationship with my parents, and I will heal my relationship with my friends who live far away. I will heal from the memories of my past, and the dismay I feel right now won’t last. I will heal, I will feel, and I will love.

2021 might not be the year when I earn a million dollars. But it will be a year when I understand the true depth of emotions, friends, families, and loved ones.

2021 will be a year when I embrace my friends more tightly than I do, because life is unpredictable, and if that’s one thing 2020 has taught us, it is this, keep your loved ones close, because, at the end of the day, they’re all you’ve got. Let 2021 be a year you heal from the pain you don’t talk about, and embrace what truly, truly matters; the people who allow you to grow and give you the reason to live. Even if that person is you for your own-self. There is beauty in being a soulmate of your own, there is courage in being your own best friend. Because when the ones you expect to remain by your side no longer stay, you’re the only one you’ve got. Love yourself, practice the art of self-love. Because self-love is the only thing that remains, it is the only thing that never fades away, neither with old age nor with time.

  1. In 2021 – I will let my creativity flow

I will express my ideas freely and boldly. I will let my creative intuition guide me to create stories and weave words that inspire. I will let the words flow naturally. I will not allow others limited beliefs to hinder my creativity. I do not wish to become a world-famous writer. With the depth of my words and the words of my poems, I wish to touch the heart of a lost soul, someone in search of a friend in books. Even if it is a single person.

In 2021, I will let my creativity flow and create metaphorical proses to be a source of healing for the broken and a contrivance of comfort for the restless.

To quote John Keating, “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”  I do not wish to change the entire world, because that is biased and practically impossible. The only thing I wish to do is to change someone’s world, to impact their lives positively, and to make them believe, that life might be hard, but it is still beautiful. Because after all, words and ideas do hold the power to change someone’s perspective and overall outlook on life, doesn’t it?

  1. In 2021 – I am open to Change and Uncertainty

If I can sum up 2020 in one word, it would be this: uncertain. From the beginning of the year, till now, whatever has happened was unexpected. Nobody expected a black young man to be killed by the police, while the world watched and fought in vain. Nobody expected for COVID-19 to be spread so far away, that more than a million people would die. A million families lost their loved ones, a million children lost their parents, and a million parents lost their children. Some people got fired from their dream jobs, while others got the opportunity to hone their skills. We never expected 2020 to be a year when we’d have to watch Australia burn, as the animals suffer and hurt.

2021 will be different. It might be a year when I gain a promotion, or a year when I face failure. It might be a year when I meet my soulmate or a year when I focus all my time and energy solely on self-love, self-appreciation, and self-grooming. 2021 might be a year when I’d lose a friend, or it might be a year when I meet a person whom I can proudly call my best friend. 2021 will be unpredictable. However, I am not afraid of change anymore. I am ready to embrace uncertainty with open arms and welcome whatever God wants to put into my way. I no longer complain about the unheard prayers and wishes. I have realized that God does not give us what we want because He has already planned out something much better. As the saying goes, perhaps the thing that is yet to come in your life, is far better than what you desire? Perhaps you ask for a drop of water, and for you, He has planned out an entire ocean?

  1. In 2021 – I Will Be Grateful

I have realized that life is too short to be drowned in a sea of sorrows and regrets. There is no use in mourning over the loss of days that have long been passed away. I have realized that life is too short to focus on what we don’t have. Ungratefulness is the root of misery and grief. In 2021, I want to be grateful for all that I have been blessed with, I want to focus on the beautiful things of life, even on the things that cause me heartache and grief.

Because in 2020, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that grief is the place where the gardens of wisdom grow. Everything we go through in life has something to teach us, the bad moments and the good ones too. A wise person is he who learns from the mistakes, the pains, and the horrid memories of his past, rather than dwelling on it for years.

In 2021, I aspire to be truly content with what I have while working towards my dreams, and career goals.

  1. In 2021 – I Will Be Happy

One of the misconceptions we have about happiness is that it is related to worldly possessions. But we have forgotten, even the rich commit suicide. I am not romanticizing poverty, nor am I saying that a person should not earn money. Money is the basic necessity of life, but it is not everything. Happiness lies amidst the little moments of life. One day you will be eighty years old, and you will look back at all of the years that have been passed away, realizing you waited your entire life to be happy, and that is when you’d realize, merriment has been inside of you all along. You just had to find it, amidst all the chaos of life. Happiness can be found in the laugh of a friend, in the secrets shared with a partner, in the memories made with your peers, in the motivational words of women who have carried the same mountains as you, and in the smile of a beautiful stranger on the train. And that is my next step towards happiness in 2021, to find joy in the little things of life, to be happy.

  1.  In 2021 – I Will Be Kinder

If we knew how much of an impact the words we utter have on the other person, all of us would start to be more kind. Kindness is something we need desperately. With the unjust killing of people worldwide, and the wars being waged on minority communities, kindness is a much-needed contrivance amidst the havoc and chaos. In 2021, I aspire to be a little more kind, a little more soft-spoken, and a little more welcoming. I want to try my best to speak good words. Because believe it or not, words possess the power to change someone’s day, and people go through things they don’t talk about. Even our friends, family members, and loved ones. They might be suffering from something they can’t share. The least you can do is make them feel better? Words possess the power to inspire, to make a change, to make a difference in the lives of those who are passionate and hungry to consume knowledge. In history, various movements occurred due to the words people wrote and spoke. It was only in writing words that they found their freedom. Words are the only contrivances that make this world a better place, a place more bearable to live. Because words, give a person the courage and motivation to dream. Words give a suicidal person, the motivation to keep on living, even when every ounce of their existence is telling them not to. In 2021, I aspire to speak soft words, words that soothe the ache of a broken heart, and words that heal the scars people keep hidden afar. In 2021, I aspire to be, a little more kind.

In 2021, I wish to live a little more boldly, a little more courageously, being unapologetically myself and embracing the true me.

About the author(s)

Eman Khalid is a writer, editor, storyteller, and a journalist. She has been a co-author of more than twenty poetry books. She is a contributing writer to the Women's Republic, the Meraki Magazine, Litlight Magazine, Prosart Literary, Kitaab, StoryHouse UK, and The LATEST. Eman is an English Language and Literature major and she has a deep passion for reading about inspirational women from the past. When she is not writing, you will find her reading poetry, listening to songs, and taking long walks at the beach.