By Dr. Hamna Tariq
It is finally 2021 and I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say we have been waiting all year for this. I think we can all let out a collective sigh. To be perfectly honest, while I feel like I should be happy, I’m currently struggling with balancing positivity with negativity. As happy as I am that what feels like the worst part is over, there is still a lot of frustration about how 2021 has gone so far. It is still very early on in the new year however and a new year brings with it an unending amount of possibilities.
While many people love making resolutions for the new year, I dropped the notion that it has to be a new year in order to work on myself. Instead, I’d like to share the things that I am looking forward to in 2021 (in no particular order).
- Getting my second dose of the COVID vaccine
I am ecstatic to have gotten the first dose of my COVID vaccine at the start of 2021. I am also so grateful to the researchers around the world who collaborated in order to get this vaccine out as soon as possible. For the first time in a long time, we have truly good news and more importantly, we have hope. I truly hope that all my colleagues, in their respective disciplines, are vaccinated quickly.
- Everyone getting vaccinated before 2021 is over
According to the current AHS rollout plan, vaccinations will open to the general public in Fall 2021. Obviously I can’t predict the future but it would be amazing if everyone that wants to be vaccinated, is vaccinated this time next year.
- Getting to see my family and friends again
It feels like forever since I’ve gotten together with my friends and family to laugh carelessly within six feet of each other and to hug one another. I think I speak for everyone when I say this is one thing I will never take for granted again. This sentiment also extends to the hospital as well. I’m really looking forward to eating lunch with my colleagues and catching up on news without worrying about how many people are already in the room.
- Being able to wear real clothes again
Don’t get me wrong, scrubs are super comfy and I love them for that. However, I really need to start wearing more than 1% of my closet again in order to justify all my quarantine shopping.
- No more paranoia when my nose starts running
Even when I knew it was allergies, as soon as I developed even the most minor of symptoms, my mind went into a paranoid spiral. I traced back everything I did, or touched, and was on high alert for any progression or new symptoms. Often, I ended up stressing myself out and reading too much into everything. This year, when my nose runs at work or when I sneeze, I will happily announce its just allergies.
- Movie theaters and stores opening up again
It’s been so long that I’ve been to the mall, the arcade or even the movie theaters, that I honestly almost forgot about these places altogether. Another thing I am looking forward to is being able to plan social gatherings again. I’d give anything to be able to go out with friends to catch a movie or to beat my husband at a game of arcade basketball again.
- Getting to travel again
Being the realist as I am, I have dialed down my excitement involving international travel and have focused my attention on being able to travel locally and nationally without lock downs, quarantines or gathering restrictions. As this opens up more, I will be able to visit my family in the United States and finally be able to plan a real vacation again. I’ve been sitting at home reading about the most fascinating places…the wanderlust is real, folks.
As soon as it’s safe, I am so excited to attend all the celebrations of those who have patiently waited through this year to have a safe wedding.
- Pearly whites
While eyes are the windows to the soul, (and I have been refreshingly surprised by how easily I can identify people even with a mask on) I am more than happy to ditch the masks (and the maskne) and see everyone’s smiles again.
So even though there are still days in 2021 where I feel frustrated more than anything else, I need to remind myself that there are just as many reasons to be excited and hopeful for what lies ahead.
Dr. Hamna Tariq is an Internal Medicine resident physician at the University of Alberta.