We Should Look Forward to 2021


Abel F. Ros

The COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be widely distributed in the later half of 2021, but medical workers, the elderly, and front-line workers have already begun to receive doses. Creative Commons photo: Abel F. Ross on Qapta.

Madison Liu, Staff Writer

It is no secret that 2020 was a horrific year from start to finish. As a result, 2021 is poised to be yet another year of struggle. We enter the new year with an economic crisis, a worsening pandemic and a volatile political environment. However, 2021 also offers many exciting events to look forward to, and in order to successfully progress, we must remain optimistic about the future.

“During particularly stressful moments in time, like our current pandemic, it is beneficial to have something to look forward to,” Atlanta therapist LeNaya Smith Crawford said to the Huffington Post. Looking forward to the future builds optimism, hope and motivation, which are all qualities that are necessary to fight through current times. 

This hope and the belief in a better future adds meaning to our lives, according to clinical psychologist Ryan Howes. Our struggles become more tolerable and satisfying if we believe in a positive outcome that ultimately makes those hardships worth it. “You’re imagining a new potential future — one with good times and challenges to overcome instead of a bleak, powerless tomorrow,” Howes said.

So in the spirit of striving for optimism, here are some reasons to look forward to 2021.

One of the most anticipated events of 2021 is the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine rollout and distribution. Almost a year after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, cases are still climbing, and the need for a vaccine is significant. “In the spring of 2021, the vaccines […] will start reaching the scale where they’ll have a global impact,” philanthropist Bill Gates said in his “Year in Review” blog post. “The number of cases and deaths will start to go down a lot, […] and life will be much closer to normal than it is now,” he wrote. After countless quarantines, stay-at-home orders and restrictions on gatherings, people are desperate for a return to normalcy. Vaccines offer a step toward that goal, hopefully allowing us to see our friends and family, return to school full-time and attend in-person events in the coming months.

Throughout 2020, there was an emphasis on global cooperation in response to the pandemic, climate change and the awareness of systemic racial inequality. Worldwide vaccine rollouts, the European Union’s ban on single-use plastics in July and the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are all examples of increased global unity in 2021. “There’s no way we would be as far along as we are if governments, companies and scientists around the world weren’t […] working closely together,” Gates wrote. 

One of the most important events in 2020 was the death of George Floyd and the subsequent national protests against police brutality and systemic racism. While activists raised awareness about inequity throughout 2020, in 2021 we will get the opportunity to both witness and create the necessary changes in our systems and culture. The new Biden administration may also offer a step toward a national-level solution. “Advancing racial equity is one of the four core pillars in Biden’s Build Back Better plan, his broad agenda for COVID-19 economic recovery, and [Biden] has stated that he will directly address the racial wealth gap, police reform and affordable housing issues,” an article in Time Magazine said. There are also several new laws being introduced throughout the country by lawmakers in state and federal branches that will require more oversight and reporting, create civilian review panels and require more disclosures about police officers, according to the LA Times.

It is also important to find excitement in the smaller things. 2021 promises the premiere of long-awaited movies and shows such as Black Widow, Dune and a Friends reboot.  Many popular artists including Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar and Adele are planning to release new albums, while the Spice Girls reunite for their 2021 world tour.