But there’s “good” old and “bad” old – which will it be in 2021?
(A version of this story will appear in the March 2021 issue of the Valencia Palms monthly magazine, “The Breezes.”)
As many readers know, I’m also a regular contributor to my community’s monthly magazine, The Breezes. Each month, contributing writers and photographers are asked to submit articles and/or photos that reflect the magazine’s monthly theme. For example, the theme for February issue was “Love the life you live. Live the life you love.” My article was was about how I fell in love with Broadway musicals (embedded here):
The theme for March is “Spring: Everything Old is New Again!” To assist in getting potential contributors’ creative juices flowing, the editor provided some thematic suggestions:
“The butterflies emerging in the current season are a duplication of metamorphosis of seasons past, but how about all of us? Will March bring changes in our lives to allow us to return to the ‘old’ activities? How would you like your life to be in the coming season? Would you like the old life back or do you have a new vision for your future?“
Boy was I stuck. For over a week! And then it hit me. I’m wasn’t even sure what the expression “Everything Old is New Again” really means to me. But then I figured it out and the words flowed. I’d like to share those words with you.
What is the “Good” Old?
About a year ago I wrote a story for The Breezes titled, “Spring Is in the Air – Bringing Baseball with It.”
Little did we know then what a year it would be.
Baseball came, but not in a way we expected. Nothing in 2020 happened in a way we expected. By the time you read this we’ll be three months or so into 2021. After the “annus horriblis” of 2020, how is 2021 working out so far? And, how will we be reflecting on how it worked out when we look back next January? Since I’m writing this in early February and don’t have a crystal ball, I can’t answer those questions. But I can virtually guarantee one thing – if we act in “new” 2021 like we acted in “old” 2020, 2021’s “new” will not be an improvement. If, however, we learned from our experiences; if we embrace the common good, we might begin to come close to a better “new” 2021.
It might make sense to put the phrase, “Everything old is new again,” into context. Many believe it is derived from the Old Testament, specifically Ecclesiastes 1:9:
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
For others the introduction to the phrase came from the hit ‘70’s song of the same name:
Don’t throw the past away,
You might need it some rainy day;
Dreams can come true again
When everything old is new again.
There is probably a strong temptation, at least when it comes to 2020, not to heed some of these admonitions. Surely, 2020 is a past that deserves “throwing away.” It was a year, we hope and pray, that was done, but will never “be done again.”
Perhaps as we progress through an uncertain 2021, we can look to both Ecclesiastes and Carole Bayer Sager (the song’s lyricist) to assist us (with due respect to both the Bible and Ms. Bayer Sager):
If what has been again will be,
From that past we’ve learned, you see;
If nothing’s new under the sun,
At least the “good” old should drive 2021.
And what is the “good” old?
Despite the disruption and dislocation of the pandemic; despite all the mishandling, the missteps and missed opportunities; despite the lack of coordination and cooperation, we did learn some things about our country and about ourselves – we learned what I’m calling the “good” old. We learned that if we work together; if we’re all on the same page; if we heed expert advice and not rely on rumor and misrepresentations; if we set rules that everyone follows, we can throw away the “bad” old and embrace the “good;” we can begin that long, hard journey to pre-2020 normalcy.
So, which “old” will be “new” again? The one we did or the one we learned? It’s up to us. For all our sake, I sincerely hope that we make the right decision.