The End. New Beginning.

New Year's resolutions trace back some 4000 years ago. It is also during this time that the first recorded 12-day religious festival known as Akitu was held in honor of the New Years, although it began in mid-March, instead of January.

Like many of our ancestors, the end of the year is a reflective time for me. As the holidays come to a close, it is one of my traditions to spend December 31 in introspection, finding a quiet space to reflect on my personal and professional achievements, the moments I failed forward, and what my hopes are for the new year. I cherish this moment, because it’s the time of the year I get to share my heart and business soul with the people I cherish the most.

Photo by Olia Danilevich

This year I’ve started to reflect early on in April 2020, about not only this year, but life in general, and boldly embarked on new journeys.

Right now, although it is only the beginning of December, I find myself in a similarly reflective mood. More than I usually do on December 31, I wind up wanting to make post Cov19 resolutions and craving to ring out 2020 and ring in 2021.

2020 has been a year like no other. A year that no one will forget, no one could have predicted, but also a year full of resilience, courage and transformation.

A year of a global pandemic, mass unemployment, loss of healthcare, illegal evictions, homelessness amidst a pandemic, food insecurity and hunger, the wrath of a deadly disease without a cure, so much unimaginable loss, nations in distress, systemic racism and discrimination, hopeful but exhausting civil unrest paired with never-ending election cycle,

but also virtual human connections and hope.

Obstacles we faced as the COV-19 pandemic made its presence known, have been full of angst, sleepless nights worried about finances and the well-being and safety of our families, friends, neighbors, work family and those whom we serve. The days haven’t been easy either - each day was filled with finding answers to complex questions, making the best decisions one could make at the time, only to have to change direction three hours later.

As I wait to welcome the start of a new calendar year, I do so with anticipation to embrace new possibilities to our new realities, and to do so knowingly that I have so much to be grateful for:

  • The amazing new journey that WeekenderNJ (WNJ) embarks on every single day.

  • The people that make up the WNJ team.

  • The brilliant entrepreneurs with whom we collaborate and exchange ideas.

  • Everyone in our state and nation whose heroic efforts have kept us fed and safe during the lockdown.

  • All individuals, advocates, activists, groups and nonprofits who have dropped off food and meals to be distributed to the homeless, on the streets, and in our shelters.

  • Everyone who stood up for immigrants rights this year.

  • Everyone who acknowledged, joined and became an ally for the Black’s Lives movement. Understanding that eliminating racism in our communities is the responsibility of each one of us.

  • I am grateful for the mutual aid generosity of thousands who responded with financial contributions to help others in need.

  • The "can-do" attitude of strangers who collaborated in ways not seen before to meet the changing needs of others.

Despite the many unknowns that 2021 holds, I am hopeful as we turn the calendar and start a new year. I am hopeful because:

Hopeful because I am happy and at peace with myself. And I say that so plainly because it takes time. To be happy. To know who you are. To figure out how to be kind and at peace with yourself. And to not be influenced by outsiders - whether positively or negatively. I’ve had a lot of time during lockdown to reflect more and realize how completely I feel and know that I am enough.

Hopeful because the only thing I aim to do is to look for sunshine and real stories.

“The past is to be glanced back occasionally, as a reminder where you came from, but not for you to live in. Look back briefly to remember your glowing experiences and the moments you failed forward. Then look ahead and remember that hope and courage is always pointing towards the future.” -Alie Pierce

And, to you dear fellow Weekender’s and neighbors, I want to thank you. We are so grateful for you allowing us to be part of your reading routine. We exist because of you! Here are my wishes for you:

  • This new calendar year, be kind to yourself and others. To do an act of kindness without any expectation - to help someone in need, to tell someone how much you appreciate them, and then to tell yourself how much you appreciate and love yourself.

  • Challenge yourself to be the positive change you want in the world. Eschew the gossip, center the gratitude.

  • Write your story. The story that will change your life the most is the story that you’ll write. Have the courage to hold that pen and fearlessly write the greatest story of your life. My wish for you in this new calendar year is to find your hope, peace and happiness, like I did.

Yes, we face A LOT of unknowns . . . perhaps as never before. But, when I see the resiliency of those around me, I do not let that uncertainty fill me with angst. Rather, I am filled with hope and excitement for 2021. I am so grateful for the support that you have provided us in this new venture. We could not have made it this far without you.

Come, let us ring out the old and ring in the new. Let’s move forward in a direction that benefits people all over the world.

We wish you and your loved ones a safe, happy and healthy New Year!

Alie Pierce may be reached at Follow Alie Pierce on Twitter & IG. Connect with WeekenderNJ on Facebook, Twitter and IG.