New Year, new start? Many people are happy to shut the door on 2020 and embark with renewed resolve in 2021. Some people have plans.

Stef Greenawalt, of Wellsboro, said, ”I always make New Year’s resolutions. I always keep the resolutions that I make, even though some are definitely harder than others.”

Greenawalt, an avid athlete and mother to Chris Greenawalt, a Wellsboro middle school athlete, said, “About a week after the schools shut down, I decided to start keeping track of how many miles I was running. It gave me a positive to focus on in the midst of all the chaos. I was shocked as I counted them up and I was at 1,600 miles. I regretted that I didn’t start counting on Jan. 1.“

“For 2021, I have two resolutions. To log 2,021 running miles for the year and to see cross country running grow as a sport for our community. It gives young athletes so much and I would love to work with others that share my fondness of the sport to make that happen,” she said.

Under the pre-Christian calendar, the first day of the year was dedicated to Janus, for whom January is named. Janus is the god of gateways and beginnings, and modern westerners continue a tradition of making pledges for good practices and new beginnings over the coming year. Judith Sornberger of Mansfield, poet and retired professor, embodies these ideals.

Sornberger said, “I spend some time reading back through my journals of the previous year, identifying dominant themes and issues, and then contemplating areas in my life I want to focus on. This year a goal is to live what Fr. John Shea calls a ‘defiant life’. He writes that living the defiant life means ‘staying awake to our connection to divine reality, even when outside forces mitigate against it’. He writes of the importance of bringing our inner light to shine on the darkness in the world in ‘creative and ingenious ways’.

“That sounds both challenging and exciting to me,” Sornberger added.

Ashley Esminger of Wellsboro is a writer, teacher, outdoorsperson and activist.

“I always set some kind of goals for the new year,” Esminger said. “It’s a perfect time for reflection and intention-setting for the months to come. I usually keep my resolutions, but like any goal I sometimes have to reevaluate during the year depending on circumstances.

“My resolution has three parts: hike 50 trails, read 50 books and write 50 poems or prose pieces within the year,” she continued. “I chose this resolution in order to challenge myself and stay on track in three important parts of my life.”

Kathleen Thompson, owner of Main Street Yoga in Mansfield, adopts a Word of the Year and tries each year to embody it.

“I like picking a one-word or short phrase for the year rather than a resolution. My word for the year is ‘pro’,” Thompson said. “It has a lot of different meanings: professional; pro-something, as in advocating for something; prolific. This word rings a lot of bells; it’s multifaceted.”

“My word for 2020 was ‘impact’, and boy, did that blow up in my face.” Thompson says. “The world impacted me.

“A real professional shows up no matter what, and an amateur works when they want to. So I am using ‘pro’ to get serious and show up. And being ‘pro-something’ means to really engage with the problem, whatever you’re concerned about.

“I love this time of year,” Thompson said. “It’s so full of possibilities.”

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