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Welcoming a new year

I WILL TRY to avoid using the word “positive” when referring to my outlook for 2021. It causes people to walk away with a look of dread. No use clarifying it’s not a medical term but an optimistic view of the coming year. How could it not be better than 2020?

Love it or hate it, this is our country. I will not allow others, including fellow countrymen living abroad, to denigrate it. It may be among the worst performing economies to get through the pandemic in terms of GDP drops. (Okay, it’s the last in class in the region.) The only way to go is up, or not farther down.

I will endeavor to think of the country’s good side to anyone who will listen.

There are nice tourist spots opening up slowly and mall parking tightening up. I will mention these in Zoom parties where Topic A, after the status of relatives in hospitals, seems to be — what’s wrong with us? I don’t need to share charts to show the not-so-V-shaped recovery.

Every company has unpleasant people and pushy clients (they are not always right). I will keep in mind that despicable people have mothers who love (or at least tolerate) them and bosses who hired them at a premium. Even with the rise of in-person meetings, with no more muting and canceling of videos, it doesn’t hurt to smile at them without looking pained.

If good fortune is the lot of others, I wish them well. Their pronounced contentment and new SUV has no effect on my self-esteem. This comes from within, needing no confirmation on how others are doing better. There are always a few who are worse off. Where are they now?

The last words that will escape my lips are — why don’t you lose weight? If people enjoy dessert, even after a test showing high blood sugar (it’s still within the upper normal range) it’s their life. People who brag about successful diet programs are bores — leave my fruit cake alone.

I will keep my sense of humor and find absurdity where I can. While I admit to being irritated by troll farms and the fake news and conspiracy theories they churn out, I will not be distracted by them. Do I need to read the posts of irritating but industrious pessimists in my Viber group?

Even if January is just a continuation of time, the artificial divide of a new calendar marks the turning of a new page. Decisions that have been deferred in the last year now need to be taken up and resolved. Okay, we can start building that new house now. (Do we still have the funds?)

With the vaccine within hailing distance (Over here, Nurse), there is reason to be cheerful. No mistakes have been made yet, no bad investments committed in the coming year. Even if it’s just a psychological reboot, as time is continuous and not really refreshed after midnight of the last day of the year of the plague, the feeling of being in control again can be reassuring. Self-delusion is the key to happiness.

Economists call the market optimism that a new year brings as the “January Effect.” It gives a boost of energy, a sense of temporary invincibility that 2021 will somehow be different in a positive (oops, that word again) way. The start of a new fiscal year is mildly intoxicating. It must be the alcohol from the small parties in the open air.

One now seldom sees the old representation of the bent old man exiting the scene wearing the sash of the old year (how did he get so ancient-looking in one year?) and a baby, sometimes with a horn, crawling confidently forward as the personification of the New Year. This analogue representation of the old and the new in the once favorite calendar or diary corporate giveaway has become obsolete.

Companies don’t even give away desk diaries anymore. Your phone has all your records, appointments, and pictures of memorable afternoons.

The New Year is a continuation of our life as a mini-series. This one has no ads, few villains, and no misfortunes too difficult to overcome. (Okay, there may be exceptions.) Perhaps, next year the face masks will be off, and we can see once more the faces of friends and people in the malls. Will they now be smiling?

 

Tony Samson is Chairman and CEO, TOUCH xda

ar.samson@yahoo.com

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