Our contributors and editors reflect on our disastrous pasts and our (semi) hopeful looks toward to the future
Claire Brnjac // Arts + Culture Editor
Rocio Palomar-Robisco // Illustrator
While we don’t want to jinx anything by wishing for world peace in 2021, we can still have hope for the future and all of it brings. Here is a group of our contributors and editors explaining what they are hoping to do next year, how they’re doing it, and how they’re going to tackle the new year with gusto.
Watch More Movies
Claire Brnjac // Arts and Culture Editor
I am the worst kind of movie watcher—one that looks up the Wikipedia plot synopsis because I can’t stand to wait the forty minutes it takes to get there naturally. If a movie even hints at a plot that I find unsavoury for some reason, I turn it off. I have a short attention span, so I have to find a time, a space, and a mental vibe that makes ‘watching movies’ conducive to my life.
All this to explain why I haven’t watched more than eight movies in my nine months indoors.
For the past two years, I’ve challenged myself to watch a hundred movies or television shows in one calendar year. I try to keep up with Oscar nomination lists and “Best Of’s,” but I can barely crack fifty on a good year. It’s not for lack of time either—even unemployed and not in school during the summer, I couldn’t force myself to pick something worth watching in Netflix’s endless selections.
There must be creative benefits for watching a lot of movies: being exposed to characters, plot lines and dialogue is great for strengthening writing skills and thinking of new ideas. The best blocking can make you feel like you’re watching a well-rehearsed dance, and good cinematography makes you want to paint a picture of a well-structured scene. Movie watching also lets you share a moment with your family or friends, just you,them and Saoirse Ronan. I’ll never forget seeing Captain America: The First Avenger with my unwilling friends and watching as they slowly came around.
In 2021, I want to be able to watch a movie without picking up my phone once to check a Wikipedia article or movie-related trivia. In a non-movie theatre setting, it’s hard. There’s no social pressure stopping you from getting distracted by an email, a message, or a devastating Co-Star reading and letting the remainder of the movie pass you by. Next year, I’m sitting still—and getting to 100 if it tortures me.
Wen Zhai // Contributor
Being an international student stuck abroad until next year and whose study schedule has been severely disrupted, I’ve tried to cheer myself up in different ways during the past year. In 2021, through experience and experimentation, I want to develop one of those habits into a consistent routine that helps accommodate my more negative feelings.
I joined a 30-day gratitude group, where we shared what we felt thankful for each day. It was heartwarming to see so many moments of gratefulness, big or small,but it also added pressure. You can only use “a sunny day,” or “good health for myself and my family” so many times before it becomes tedious. Gratitude and reflection morphed into anxiety and pressure.
I also tried positive psychology techniques. I tried focusing on positive experiences, but reality always seemed to have the upper hand. While I felt guilty for not feeling positive when so many people were worse off than myself, I also knew my worries and frustrations were legitimate. Eventually, just looking for reasons to stay positive became exhausting.
Then one day, still overwhelmed by frustration, I decided that I would at least try to eat three proper meals at regular intervals despite my negative feelings. The word “constructive” came to mind, and I fell in love with it. It was so liberating not to bash yourself when you felt low and just think of how to keep yourself healthy and on track. On days I realized that I would be consumed by negativity, I would drop everything and go out for a walk.
Nothing felt more helpful than focusing on constructive thoughts or actions when the world around the pandemic seemed to change daily and government and school policies changed weekly.
Bit by bit, I feel more positive when I have given up on being “positive”, and hopefully, this daily reflection will lead me to the future that I want next year.
The Year of the Low-Buy
Alexis Zygan // Contributor
I flip through my journal back to Jan. 1 and reflect on the resolutions I set out to accomplish in 2020. This was a year defined by countless challenges—stuck at home during quarantine with a credit card and encouraging advertisements, I gave in. I found myself filling the void leftover from canceled concerts and plane ticket vouchers with gifts I purchased in the sentiment of self-love. Online shopping became a way to cope with uncertainty. At least I knew that Canada Post would deliver my package within two weeks and satisfy my unconscious urges for consumption. In 2021, I vow to be more mindful about how I spend my money through “low-buy,” a practice where consumers buy very little during the year to focus on sustainability. I debated the more restrictive “no-buy,” but decided to try the less limiting option and embrace a more minimalist lifestyle.
A low-buy requires diligence and following restrictions, hence why I’m publishing this article to hold myself accountable. Years ago, I watched as a friend’s roommate had to freeze his credit card to stop spending. Hopefully, through following the low-buy rules, I will never have to go to such extremes. For the following year, I can eat out and buy groceries only once a week. I aim to buy all gifts secondhand or give an experience instead—no buying anything new for my apartment unless an item breaks and requires a replacement. To ensure I only buy one clothing item per month, I will unsubscribe from email newsletters. As a caffeine connoisseur, I limit myself to only purchasing one oat milk latte every two weeks. At the end of the month, I plan to transfer all the money leftover into a tax-free savings account. I will also track all my purchases through the EveryDollar Budgeting app. By the end of 2021, I hope to no longer be spending carelessly. Despite consumerism convincing us otherwise, our worth on this planet is far more than what we buy.
Climb the Stawamus Chief
Kaileigh Bunting // Contributor
In years past, my New Year’s resolutions have all been part of the same “new year new me” mantra: lose weight, eat better, learn a new language, wake up early, do yoga, eat more kale, or read more books—all activities I thought would make me happy, or at least give me the beach body I’d always dreamed of. Despite setting these expectations for myself, I found myself failing time and time again, leading to frustration that made each goal slip further out of reach.
It wasn’t until I started rock-climbing recreationally that I started to care less about the results of my workouts and more about the activity itself. I’ve come to love the early morning drives to the rock wall just to climb at sunrise. I’ve grown to enjoy the feeling of sore muscles, and I’ve started to look at food as fuel to power my awesome adventures in British Columbia’s beautiful backyard instead of calories I had to eat less of. Without realizing it, rock-climbing has led me closer to my past resolutions than dieting or half-assed meditation ever has.
Because of all this, my 2021 New Year’s resolution is to climb the Stawamus Chief. Towering 702m tall, this rock wall is the most impressive single piece of granite in North America. Locally known as “The Chief,” this massive monolith towers above the city of Squamish in British Columbia and is one of the crown jewels of Howe Sound. To rock climb the entire Chief top to bottom takes the average climbing duo eight hours, something that once seemed impossible to me. Now, beach body or not, I know I’m capable of achieving this goal, and I can’t wait to see what else 2021 has to offer.