KHALIQ: Dear 2021: Be nice to us!

2021 has started with great hopes, and I pray it pays us back for our patience in 2020. I wish we could erase some memories of 2020 from our lives. The past year, every incident, be it Australian wildfire, death of Kobe Bryant, Black lives matter, COVID pandemic or US elections, has redefined our purpose in life. 2020 was a challenging year! No doubt. I think we all have given up on 2020 and looking forward to 2021.

The most common question that, as a college professor, I am asked what my new year resolution? This year, my goal is just to be involved with my loved ones more. Focusing on one small part of your life consistently is way more beneficial instead of making big goals, be it losing weight, studying more, or drinking more water. Because let's be honest, we will be back to our old habits by mid-March as research recommends. Most people resolution die by Feb. Why don't we make a resolution this year to be more involved in our friends' lives (of course not taking over their space)? Sending them a text message here and there, randomly calling them and just saying hi or even sharing a meme shows them we think about them.

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During COVID, we do feel lonely, and we know it is tough to make friends once you become a responsible adult. Life, work, and kids' activities take over, so the friends we have in our lives let's preserve them. Close friendships are necessary for optimal health and well-being. We are social creatures, and a pivotal point to a close friendship is intimacy. Intimacy means sharing what you think without being judged and being yourself fully, with no walls around you. You can't get this intimacy by getting likes and comments on your social media page. A big part of intimacy is when you are heard and understood by the other person. I believe that close friendships are so vital to us because they are so difficult to form. So, this year's resolution, let's be closer to our friends.  A 75-year Harvard study suggests that our quality of relationships define our longevity and happiness in our lives, not money, fame, or worldly goods. Please don't wait for your friends to connect to you; you initiate and connect with them. Sometimes all we need is a text message from our loved ones to change our gloomy day into a happy, bright, smiley day.

No one knows what 2021 will bring and what the new normal would look like. There are no clear answers yet, but here is hope. 

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