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Life 101: A clean slate, yours to create

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This New Year, EBS contributor Linda Arnold suggests being present and positive while seeking happiness. PHOTO COURTESY OF PEXELS


The New Year is always my favorite time of year. 365 delicious days, 52 wonderful weeks and 12 magnificent months!

2021 has even more significance following our unprecedented experiences in 2020.  Whew—what a year.

We’re still in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, with some of the largest numbers of cases and deaths now taking place, and there have been devastating consequences with the loss of human lives, job layoffs and the closing of businesses.

A Shot in the Arm

Vaccines are arriving for the COVID-19 virus, and that’s encouraging news. Unfortunately, they did not arrive soon enough for those who lost their lives—or those of you who lost relatives or friends.

I’m sure we all wonder what 2021 will be like. While there are many things that are still out of your control, your perspective has a lot to do with the way you’ll see things.

What Lens Are You Looking Through?

The lens you choose has everything to do with how you view your world:

  • Awareness – Pay attention to the information you take in.
  • Negativity – Think about setting some healthy boundaries on the amount of negativity you allow into your life, from friends, relatives, colleagues or the media.
  • Personalizing – When something bad occurs, do you automatically blame yourself?
  • Catastrophizing – Do you usually anticipate the worst?
  • Polarizing – Do you see things only as good or bad – or black or white?

Showing Up

How will you show up in 2021? Being present, or stuck in the past?  Being grateful, or worrying about the future?

No question, your world has been rocked, and your way of life has changed dramatically. So, be sure to give yourself some credit.

Where Do We Go from Here?

Bill Gates says it will be 2022 before things start to get back to “normal.” I’m more optimistic.  I’m sure he’s taking in the global impact, while I’m focusing more on our everyday lives in our communities.

We’ve learned to live with uncertainty. That’s one of the toughest scenarios to endure. We like to plan and organize, and we had to “wing it” for much of the past year.

My key word for 2020 is adapt.  We’ve had to do it time and time again. Even if we haven’t become adept!

Heart Space

While I’m all for positive thinking, I realize the value in genuinely feeling our feelings. Give yourself permission to do just that.

It’s the contrasts in our lives that weave the rich tapestries. And paying attention to those heart space moments.

You probably have them more than you think: when your dog or cat greets you with unconditional love, when you’re permitted by a fellow motorist to switch lanes or you get a “thank you” email. They have everything to do with the quality of your life.

Happiness, Joy and Contentment

This is a perfect time to ponder one of my favorite themes: variations on happiness, contentment and joy. To me, joy is more of an episode, while happiness and contentment signify ongoing states of well-being.

One of my favorite quotes from an old movie says it all: “I’m content with where I’ve been, and I’m proud of who I am.”

Here’s a little mantra I composed that may give you some perspective for 2021:

Peace on Earth

Is a lofty goal.

But inner peace

Is in my control.

2020 Linda Arnold Life 101, all rights reserved.  Linda Arnold, M.A., M.B.A., is a syndicated columnist, psychological counselor and founder of a multistate marketing company.  Reader comments are welcome at  For information on her books, go to or

The Outlaw Partners is a creative marketing, media and events company based in Big Sky, Montana.

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