To borrow (and update) Queen Elizabeth II's famous November 24, 1992, annus horribilis speech at the London Guildhall, l might begin by saying that 2021 "is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure." Nor, I suspect, am I at all alone in that sentiment!
For me personally, this year began with an inevitable but nonetheless painful period of transition. On New Year's Eve 2020, I woke up still the pastor of a parish (albeit a "lame duck" one), with full responsibility for a parish community of which I was an integral part. On New Year's Day 2021, I woke up with no responsibilities and a part of no parish community. That, of course, is what happens as we age, and we are rightly required to pass on our responsibilities to others who are younger and fitter. Still, it would be the most unbelievable fantasy to pretend that such a transition, however necessary and appropriate, is anything but depressingly difficult and challengingly lonely.
Yet, life goes on (until it doesn't), and we all adapt. So, in January, I moved back to my community's mother house in New York, where I had previously lived until 10 years earlier, and so was already "home" on so many levels. And here I am, a year later, still discerning a proper path for myself. As the future Pope John XXIII when he turned 70 in 1951: "the bell has rung for Vespers and our best course is to hold ourselves ready in loving expectation for any summons."