Depending on when you’re reading this, we have just a little over 72 hours to go before we can bid 2020 adieu.

My neighbor summed up 2020 when he said, “This year has just sucked.”

I think we can all agree this wasn’t the best year for anyone. For some, it was devastating. For some, there were inconveniences. But we’ve all had a lot more stress and worry than in years past. 

We’ll remember 2020 for years to come, telling our grandchildren stories of surviving the pandemic. We’ll talk about picking out our masks and scavenging the stores for toilet paper. We’ll remember all the events that didn’t happen — like the fair, the Apple Festival and the Christmas parade.

Soon, we will welcome 2021.

With cases of COVID-19 still spiking in our region, it’s best to forgo the big parties out on the town or with large groups of friends and plan a quiet ringing in of the new year.

And, I think we all need to plan how we’re going to start this year off on the right foot.

For example, I have always left my Christmas tree up until after the new year. The tale was that leaving your tree up brought some of the old year’s love and care into the new year. This superstition is also a great way to justify my procrastination and lets me delay having to return the decorations to my crawl space.

But maybe I will take it all down before New Year’s Eve, in case some of the bad luck of 2020 decides to hitch a ride into 2021 on my Christmas tree limbs.

Last year, I skipped the traditional meal of black-eyed peas, greens and hog jowl. I’m not saying that thumbing my nose at that age-old tradition is what caused 2020 to be so awful, but I see no reason to tempt the fates. I’ve already got the beans, greens and bacon (I don’t really like hog jowl) ready to heat up.

You usually only need a few bites of each to meet the New Year’s Day requirements, but perhaps we should all ask for a second helping. 

Here are a few other New Year’s superstitions that can help us set the stage for a better 2021:

Eat 12 grapes at midnight

Put a little cash in your wallet to usher in a year of prosperity

Open the doors at midnight to let the old year out and welcome the new one

Toss a coin in a river or pond or other body of water

Chase away bad luck and evil spirits by throwing bread against the walls

Eat any cut of pork — it’s considered good luck in many regions and cultures

Cabbage or sauerkraut make lucky side dishes

Noodles are also good-luck charms

The start of the new year always brings a sense of a new beginning and a fresh start. But we have to do our part to make that happen. And that means doing more than eating some black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. 

Things won’t magically change at the stroke of midnight on Friday. We still have many months of COVID-19 ahead of us. We’ll need to keep being careful about where we go, wear our masks, wash our hands and stay home if we’re sick. 

But at least we won’t have 2020 on the calendar anymore. 

May you all have a safe and happy 2021!

Heather Mullinix is editor of the Crossville Chronicle. She covers schools and education in Cumberland County. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.

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