The Bar is Low, 2021: We’re Setting Small Resolutions for Ourselves This Year


January 22, 2021
Read Time: 4 minutes

What does your post-2020 recovery look like?



As far as the internet is concerned, 2020 didn’t happen. We don’t know her, have never heard of her and will continue to live as if she never happened. At least that’s the energy we waltzed into 2021 with—but after a sobering few weeks, our perspectives have changed a little since.


Personally, thinking about 2020 reminds me of a book I read to cope with difficult feelings. A pattern I’ve observed within my circles is that when one of us is faced with the death of someone close to us, another friend gets them a paperback copy of Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. It’s a book that carried me through the crippling waves of my own grief and, while it sinks its teeth into loss and mourning brought about by death, it feels surprisingly apt in the context of last year. We did lose, and we lost a lot. We laid our loved ones to rest. Our careers. Our lives as we knew them. “Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.”


Unlike most books, Didion’s isn’t landmarked by clarity and closure. It lays out complicated emotions and mental gear shifts on the table, does its utmost to make sense of them and, with the passage of time, moves on from them. Slowly, after the year that took and tore and twisted our lives out of shape, we’re trying to do the same.


There's no textbook solution to recovering from a bad year, but we can do our best to cushion the blows we’ve come to expect. We’ve set the bar low for 2021 and, despite how that might sound, it isn't necessarily a bad thing. Consider it an essential step in the recuperation process. We’re walking into a new year with no pressure and setting small resolutions for ourselves.


RELATED: An Open Letter to 2020


Tamia Reodica, Musician and Student


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Wonder: What did 2020 teach you?

Tamia: I think the last year taught me that it’s alright to not be doing anything. It’s alright to take a break; the amount of work you put out into the world doesn’t define your worth! I had to learn that the hard way by going through [some] difficult few months in quarantine, where so much of my time was just spent scrolling and the creative pursuits I did came to a halt. I felt there was an unspoken pressure to do something “productive” instead or to create somehow just because I saw that other people were. Eventually, though, I realized that it’s totally fine to take a break and do things that you simply enjoy, like playing a video game or binge watching a show.


W: What is your low-stakes resolution for this year?

T: My resolution for this year is to read more. I have a lot of books on my shelf that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet, and I want to get back into the habit of reading again as much as I can!


Edward Joson, Photographer


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A post shared by E J. (@edwardjoson_)


Wonder: What did 2020 teach you?

Edward: Personally, 2020 gave me the time to reflect—whether [on] the work I’ve been doing or [if] the things that I’m buying are adding value to my life. I realized that there are some practices I can let go of and exchange so my life energy is used in a much better way.


W: What is your low-stakes resolution for this year?

E: Focus on what’s more important and to slow down.


Una Ilarde, Content Creator


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Wonder: What did 2020 teach you?

Una: I think 2020 reminded me how being more self aware and “present” is important. Most interactions last year were online and, even with staying in touch virtually, there was still some sort of disconnect.


I haven’t seen my mom in almost a year and lost both my grandparents, so moving forward, when we’re all able to see each other again, I’d like to remind myself to value my time with people I love and be present, really soak it all in.


W: What is your low-stakes resolution for this year?

U: To read more (my bad habit is to hoard so I’d like to tick some books of my list, haha) and to use my hands more, like [through] creative mini DIY projects for myself.


Gaby Gloria, Writer and Editor


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Wonder: What did 2020 teach you? 

Gaby: 2020 taught me to hold the judgment and try to see the good before the bad. 


W: What is your low-stakes resolution for this year?

G: I've been trying to worry less so I've been learning how to skateboard! My goal is to just be comfy on the board and maybe learn a couple of tricks (though no pressure there).


Julian Rodriguez, Model


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A post shared by Julian Rodriguez (@julianjrr)


Wonder: What did 2020 teach you?

Julian: I found immense value in taking things at my own pace. Living my truth authentically, navigating the beauty in compassion, love and perspective. Welcoming the process of healing, acceptance and exploring what feels right for myself. Creating a space in which I will fit.


W: What is your low-stakes resolution for this year?

J: I am welcoming change, new beginnings and ends with acceptance and purpose. Letting go of limiting beliefs, relationships and cycles that do not serve me and my growth. Making room for love and happiness. I am showing up for myself.



RELATED: The Year I Learned the World Didn’t Revolve Around Me



Art Matthew Ian Fetalver


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