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Sixty-Something: High Hopes For 2021

T.J. Clemente

I have high hopes that 2021 is the turnaround year, the year we head towards a new wonderful safe normal. (Photo: TJ Clemente)

If you are sixty-something, you have gone through some tough times. It might have started with the JFK assassination in 1963, followed by the other assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and RFK in1968. Then there was the ordeal of Watergate and President Nixon resigning in 1974. In 1980, we had the crisis of the hostages in Iran. Throughout the 1980s, we had the AIDS epidemic, and then the first of the Iraq wars. Not to mention the horror of 9/11, a day I was working in NYC on. However, in my lifetime, there has been no other year like 2020 and this worldwide Coronavirus pandemic.

Over the years, there had been other potential medical situations for crisis - the swine flu, the West Nile virus, Ebola in Africa, and SARS in China. Thankfully, the worst fears were never realized with those horrendous diseases and potential earth-shattering medical crises. However, COVID-19 has unfortunately wrecked lives and caused harm on the whole planet with severe illness, death, shutdowns, fears and financial ruin. Everyone has felt the tentacles of COVID-19 somehow, someway in 2020. And yes, too many worldwide have died. Many will still die until hopefully vaccines and other protocols can stop this killer virus.

That is where the high hope for 2021 comes into play. I am hoping that sooner rather than later it will be safe to greet people, dine with friends and family, and gather in public. I want to experience live theater and live music. I want to be able to get up and dance with my wife, along with others. I want to be able to safely walk into a bar for a cold beer. Next summer, I want to go to the beaches without someone counting how many people there are. These are the obvious desires.

The beautiful East End sunsets are always to be appreciated. I have enjoyed seeing them while sailing in Gardiner's Bay. In 2021, I am hoping to be munching on lobster rolls, watching the setting sun light up the sky nightly, knowing that the curse of COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror.

There is also a plan for late spring (2021). The plan is for my daughter and her husband to fly over from England with my first grandchild, a little girl, Juniper Rose, so that I may meet her. I am so waiting to hold that child and look into her eyes, the eyes that will live well into the future and see sunsets long after I am gone.

We all have many good friends we want to have safe dinners with, go to plays with, see movies at festivals with, go to live music shows and concerts with. I want to be able to relax with them and not have to worry about whether we all may come down with the deadly virus that day.

I am hoping in 2021 to have the opportunities to post stories about triumphs, about galas, meetings, and award ceremonies. About soup tasting contests and chili bakes for charity. I want the word "virtual" to be about last year's events and not this year's events. I want people to remember nostalgically when the only way to connect and have meetings was through Zoom.

Lastly, I want to feel safe hugging good friends and shaking hands while greeting new ones. Our generation believed in peace, love and understanding. We started the idea of caring about the earth and everyone on it. I have high hopes that 2021 is the turnaround year, the year we head towards a new wonderful safe normal. I understand safe spacing, but I believe in intimacy, coziness, and closeness. I want to see everyone's beautiful smiles come out from behind the safety masks. Seeing beautiful smiles and smiling back is something everybody does in the same language.

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