2021, Life, and the Magic 8-Ball

Empty Glass

Many bloggers are busy writing end-of-the-year or New Year’s posts, something that we all tend to do this time of the year. This year especially, I think we all want to bid 2020 a not-so-fond farewell. I too wanted to write something about the New Year but found myself struggling, wondering how to motivate but not be preachy, how to empathize without presuming to understand the pain, suffering, and loss of others, how to share something without sounding like a cheerleader because there is only so much “rah, rah” anyone can take. I wanted to write something at least a tiny bit hopeful.

But how?

As I wrestled with all that, something my daughter said popped into my head. Like so many recent college grads, she’s frustrated by the pandemic and “waiting for her life to start.” This appears to be a pretty common school of thought, and I’m seeing it even at the college I work for. Rather than enrolling in classes, students are waiting for Covid to be over. Many others, both young and old, are waiting for things to get back to “normal,” waiting for these terrible times to be over, waiting . . .

Somehow, I find this “waiting” mentality sadder than anything because anyone who’s been around longer than a few decades knows life just isn’t like that. Life has a way of taking a bite out of whatever perfect plans you’ve made, adding a little seasoning, and swallowing the whole thing down.

Writer and fellow Instagrammer, R. J. Nello quoted Winston Churchill in a recent blogpost: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”  As is the case with many Churchill quotes, I take inspiration from this one as well.

I know we’re supposed to be grateful for what we have and what we accomplish in these trying times, but I think we’ve all heard enough about that, and personally, I just want to move on. I want to keep my head down and “keep going.”

Magic 8-Ball
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

And I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m thinking one of those Magic 8-Balls we used to play with back in the day might be useful right now and the best way to foretell 2021. Here are some predictions according to the 8-Ball:

  • As I see it, yes.
  • Ask again later.
  • Better not tell you now.
  • Cannot predict now.
  • Concentrate and ask again.
  • Don’t count on it.
  • It is certain.
  • It is decidedly so.
  • Most likely.
  • My reply is no.
  • My sources say no.
  • Outlook not so good.
  • Outlook good.
  • Reply hazy, try again.
  • Signs point to yes.
  • Very doubtful.
  • Without a doubt.
  • Yes.
  • Yes – definitely.
  • You may rely on it.

I have no idea what to expect in 2021. Does anyone? Some of us are upbeat while some of us still have concerns. I find myself somewhere in the middle. I am cautiously optimistic and am staying far away from the 2021 pessimistic forecasting in which some are partaking.

Hard pass on that.

Because if there’s anything this pandemic has taught us, it’s that life is short.


And waiting for things to be better, waiting for the pandemic to go away might not be the best course of action. Sure, we’re limited to what we can do, where we can go, and who we can be with, but you can still plant the garden, go to school, climb the mountain, run the race, and write the book because achieving those types of goals is all we have.

Until somebody finds a better predictor for 2021 than the Magic 8-Ball, I’m just going to give it a shake every morning, see what fortune floats up, and keep going.


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  • This is the first day of the coming year, and as I’ve been telling anyone who would listen to an O.F. (that’s an Old F**t or, as we’d prefer – Old Fogey), as of 12:01 a.m., January 1st 2021, everything is going to be better. The days will be brighter, your mind will be clear and you may even be blessed with a bit of memory loss so that you don’t dwell on last year; just forge ahead as though none of that bad stuff stuck to you at all. The Roman poet Horace wrote, “Carpe Diem”; So why don’t you?

  • Life IS short and it is precious and really we have to grab today and make the best of it. I hope that 2021 is kind to you Laura and your family too. Better days are coming but really, there’s no time like the present. 😊