Wes Magagna mug

Wes Magagna

With 2020 almost over, I am sure so many of you are looking forward to 2021 ... I know I am. I can honestly say this has been one of the toughest years I have had to endure. However, next to all the bad that happened, there was also some good.

For the past couple of years, I have been itching to go back to school. Due to the pandemic, this allowed me the time go back, where I am now majoring in sport management and am excited about what the future holds. 2020 was also the first year where all my family was under the same roof for Christmas. This has not happened in at least four or five years.

Instead of looking backward and allowing myself to get stuck on all the bad things that did happen, I always do my best to remain positive. Yes, there was so much bad that I could go into detail about. However, I choose to keep pushing forward.

Not so long ago, my cousin Jonah sent me a message that has since stuck with me. He said, “the only time you should ever look backward is to see how far you have come.” Although Jonah is my cousin, I have always viewed him more as a brother because of how close we have always been. Fortunately for me, I have a few more cousins just like this that I am extremely close with. Having my friends and family has definitely been the glue that has helped keep me together this year.

On another positive note, not only has school been going great for me, but I have also been able to get on the ice a lot more lately. Being able to lace up my skates and carve up some ice has been a great way for me to escape reality. More importantly, it allows me to get my mind right when I start feeling too much pressure building up.

Since March, I feel like many of the people I know, including myself, have been on autopilot or have been sort of coasting because off all the shutdowns. However, with a new year right around the corner, I am challenging myself and everyone I know to stand up and take back control. I realize there are still rules and guidelines that we must follow, but this does not mean we put our lives on pause. Each day is a new opportunity to grow and be better than we were the day before.

With all the bad things this year has brought upon me and my family, I am no longer allowing myself to use all of this as an excuse. I am done hanging my head and feeling bad for myself. Although it is the end of the year, this column is not a list of goals I want to set for myself. This is more of a reminder for myself and everyone else out there who has been struggling that radical change requires radical change.

Lastly, what I want to say more than anything is just how thankful I am. This year has definitely been challenging, but it was also a great reminder of all that I am thankful for. Next to all of my friends and family members, I also have a great group of co-workers who have been nothing short of spectacular since I first walked through the doors in 2016. Throughout every problem I have faced, including leaving them empty handed a few times due to me going back to school, they remain supportive and only offer help, even when I do not ask for it. Because of all of this, I cannot even begin to express just how grateful I am for everyone in my life.

Fortunately for me, even with all the chaos I have had to deal with in 2020, I have not lost any loved ones. However, I know a few people who have. The best way I know how to honor these people, our friends, family, members of the community, is to keep moving forward and to challenge ourselves each day to be better.

If 2020 has done anything for me, it’s made me realize just how short life really is. Even more importantly, it has taught me how to break out of my comfort zone. Because of this, I have been asking more questions, challenging myself to try new things, and reaching out and reconnecting to people I care about.

Like my cousin Jonah told me, the only time you should ever look back is to see how far you have come. I really hope 2021 brings everyone nothing but happiness, joy, and peace.

Wesley Magagna is a sports reporter for the Rocket Miner newspaper. You can contact him at sports@rocketminer.com or follow on him Twitter @WesleyMagagna

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