How It Started Vs How It’s Going

Words by: Xenia Sanut
Art by: Emma Lucas

My 2021 bucket list: How It Started

🔳 Save up for Japan exchange.

🔳 Travel more.

🔳 Exercise for 30 minutes daily.

🔳 Go out more.

🔳 Take more off-screen breaks.

🔳 Forget that 2020 ever happened.

My 2021 bucket list: How It’s Going

🔳 Save up for Japan exchange. Save up for a Japan trip — after this is all over.

🔳 Travel more.

🔳 Travel to Sydney. CANCELLED (Sydney outbreak)

🔳 Travel to Inverloch. CANCELLED (Circuit Breaker lockdown)

Travel somewhere (literally, anywhere) before the year ends.

🔳 Exercise for 30 minutes daily.

🔳 Do yoga and a dance workout every day.

🔳 Do a dance workout every second day.

🔳 Do a dance workout every weekend.

Do Zumba whenever you can be bothered.

🔳 Go out more.

🔳 Go roller-skating with friends.

🔳 Do karaoke.

🔳 Get my hair dyed a bright colour.

🔳 LOCKDOWN BACK-UP PLAN: Catch up on online games and video calls.

🔳 Take more off-screen breaks. Do what you can to keep yourself busy and distracted.

🔳 Watch more movies.

🔳 Read more Japanese manga.

🔳 Get vaccinated.

🔳 Get second dose. (October 27)

🔳 Forget that 2020 ever happened! Stay positive! We’ll get out of this soon!

I was at my boyfriend’s house on New Year’s Eve. We were sitting in the living room, watching the Sydney fireworks show, and admiring how the explosions of light were reflected on the dark waters of Sydney Harbour. Like many people, I was optimistic about 2021. We were out of lockdown for the majority of the summer, and after a week of the circuit breaker lockdown we were able to stop COVID-19 in its tracks. While my first semester was a hybrid of online and on-campus classes, 2021 still looked like the year where we would do all the things we took for granted before 2020. Until 2021 said, “Ha! Sike”.

Both of the trips I had planned for this year, one to Inverloch with high school friends in February and the other to Sydney with two of my travel buddies in July, got cancelled due to lockdowns and outbreaks. I had planned to go to Japan for a semester exchange long before the world knew what ‘COVID-19’ meant and I got tired of hearing how everything was ‘unprecedented.’ I had Tokyo University in sight, but that dream got further away from me with every cancellation and postponement. And then there was the classic “I’m going to exercise more” New Year’s resolution. I don’t think I needed the pandemic to happen to know where that was going.

A new New Year’s resolution, however, was going out and catching up with friends more. I have always been more of an introverted person, preferring the safety of my bedroom to having to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers on a packed train or, dare I say, talking to  hospitality staff when I want to order a meal. And while I am still an introverted person after the events of 2020, I knew I had a lot of social recharging to do. At the start of first semester, I finally got my red Ps and drove down the Mornington Peninsula with my boyfriend, almost crashing twice but feeling freer than any moment in the past year. I went roller-skating and did karaoke with old friends, and left that skating rink and karaoke booth having lost my balance and voice — but having found myself again.

So where am I now that we’re in lockdown again? Well, I’m taking those resolutions that I’ve only half completed and grasping at them like a life raft in the middle of a storm. I’ve gotten my first vaccine and am waiting out for my second because it feels like it’s all that I can do to help make this storm go away. Ultimately, I’m trying to stay optimistic because that’s what resolutions are: the belief that your problems will be resolved and that life has the capability to become better.

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