Dear 2021 … it can only get better January 13, 2021 — by Martin Xu Photo by Christina Chang Let’s look forward to a year of peace and rest!Dear 2021, I don’t know what you have in store for us or what kind of challenges you’ll bring, but there is a lot of expectation and hope for you to be a better year than your predecessor. Last March 13, I remember hearing my second-period teacher say in-person school may be canceled for the rest of the semester. Similar claims, varying in confidence, followed for the rest of the day. At the start of lunch, my swim coach emailed saying practice was canceled for the day. “Finally a break from practice!” I thought. That excitement grew stronger after seeing the second email from the superintendent at the end of lunch, announcing school would be closed until after spring break. But that excitement faded as I spent the rest of the year isolated at home. While I appreciate the time I spent with my parents, worry from venturing outside in a pandemic and nearby fires caused concerns that the unthinkable would happen. After months of being told to wear masks, socially distance and not go indoors with people unless necessary, just seeing someone without a mask or going into an indoor area with other people makes me uneasy. It’s hard to imagine things can spiral further downhill from here. Last year was a year full of stress and living on the edge of everything from evacuation to political chaos, so I’m hoping to live more peacefully in 2021. But to achieve this, we need to look at issues that are painfully present and continue to loom on the horizon. Rampant wildfires need to stop, and we need to start being better to our planet. I hope to have a less stuffy year than in 2020. While the entire year without masks is out of the question, I hope to have at least a part of 2021 where mask-wearing is no longer essential. Several countries around the world, from Australia to Taiwan, have already contained the COVID-19 outbreaks, and people are living life just as they would a normal year. I hope more people start to realize the seriousness of the pandemic and follow stay-at-home orders until the virus is contained either by quarantining or COVID-19 vaccines. This year, the phrase “new year, new me” applies to the U.S. as well. Based on the election results, we’re set for a transition of power on Jan. 20, and a lot is about to change. I’m optimistic about President-elect Joe Biden’s plans to help Americans end this pandemic and revive communities back to normalcy. His thought-out plan includes everything from eliminating the cost barriers for COVID-19 treatment to providing unemployment insurance. Overall, his plans seem very beneficial to the people and I believe they can bring the country back on track. I look forward to a time where I can finally travel back to China, my home country, to visit family members and reminisce about the memories I’ve had there. 2020 has been a year of loss: Many people have lost their homes, their jobs, the people they admire and even their loved ones. We will be stronger going into 2021. For the sake of people’s lives, let’s learn from our mistakes in 2020 and each do our part to end this pandemic together. And from there, we can seek to heal our nation and do the activities we look forward to later in 2021. About the contributorsMartin XuMartin Xu, Class of ‘23, is Sports Editor for the 2022-23 staff. He was a Web Editor for the 2021-22 staff and a Reporter and Layout Artist for the 2020-21 staff. He's written in-depth stories regarding therapy and free speech, human interest stories profiling students and news stories on local events.