A lot of us will be making New Year’s resolutions today and Friday. It’s a tradition that dates to ancient Rome.

The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus, the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances. Janus had two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back, so he could look backward and forward at the same time.

At the dawn of a new year, the Romans imagined Janus looking back at the old year and forward to the new.

As we look forward to 2021, we have reason to be optimistic. The coronavirus pandemic has sickened more than 6,000 Howard County residents and killed another 115. But local health care workers now are receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, and soon the aged and infirm will be rolling up their sleeves.

As the ancient Romans knew, the start of a new year is a time for new beginnings.

This is a great time to cut back on stress. Perhaps we’ll resolve to lose weight, to pay off debt, to save money, to get a better job. Or maybe we’ll promise ourselves to start that exercise program and eat a healthier diet.

Maybe we want to get a better education, cut back on alcohol or quit smoking.

But let’s not just think about ourselves.

Let’s resolve to do more to make our community and world a better place. Let’s promise to give more to charity or to devote more of our time to local causes; COVID-19 has caused people to lose their jobs, so the need is real. Let’s pledge to bend down and pick up the next piece of trash we see on the way to the car.

Perhaps we can all do one small thing every week or every month to make the Kokomo area a better place to live.

As we stand on the threshold of 2021, let’s all join Janus in taking a look back and a look forward. Let’s, each of us, pledge to make this the beginning of a healthier, happier, more prosperous year.

Kokomo Tribune editorial board

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