It’s a new year, a new decade even, and I’m sure we’ve all been doing at least a tiny bit of reflecting. #10yearchallenge anyone? Still, we all know how this goes, right? We make some bullshit resolutions that we know we won’t keep longer than a week or so, then go about living our lives the same way we were living them at the end of 2019. It’s hard to do new things. To make changes. We all realize there are areas of our lives that require improvement, but old habits die hard, as the people say.
Well, all of this “glass half empty” talk is not going to stop us from suggesting some resolutions that you should make and keep in 2020. No, really, you should keep them. **Spoiler alert: They do not involve eating healthier and working out more, or quitting whatever vices you have, so please keep reading.**
Because we are a hyper-local focused magazine, we would like to offer up some resolutions that are very hyper-local focused, and really quite achievable. All will help you become a more invested member of the C-U community, which is something we could all strive to be.
Try something new
This is really broad. But if you read what what Smile Politely puts out into the world from day to day, week to week, you know that there are a wide range of experiential opportunities right in front of you all the time, whether it’s new foods to try, new music to listen to, new cultural experiences to have, new hobbies to pick up. We could find any number of things to complain about in regards to life in C-U, but we are fortunate to live in a place that has much to offer in relation to the size of the metropolitan area. Stop saying “hey, we really need to try this place” and go try it already. This month’s Five things to eat or drink in C-U, could be a starting point, as could the upcoming Restaurant Week. Unleash your creative self in a community rich in arts. Our arts editor Debra outlined some great ways to do just that in the new year/decade. Try a new activity. Curling? Aerial Arts? Fencing? Cooking? What about writing for your local culture magazine? We have lots of things to do here, and we work our asses off telling you about them. Go. Do.
Make C-U a better place to live
Go beyond experiencing the community, and become involved in it. Concerned about the state of your city or your county or your schools? Maybe you start with showing up at city council, county board, or school board meetings. Want to go a step further? Take an hour or two a week and volunteer your time by being a mentor, or give your time to those helping the most vulnerable in our community, such as Cunningham Township or The Refugee Center. Support inclusiveness through Uniting Pride. There are so many organizations here that need your time and your talent. And don’t say you don’t have any time — none of us think we have any time. But many of us do, and we just need to find better ways to use it. Find a cause that you care about and see what you can do to contribute,
Up your political game
This year's going to be a big one, politically speaking. If you’ve been reading The News-Gazette lately, you may have caught a couple of articles — like this one and this one from Tom Kacich looking at the aftermath of the 2018 election, and the crumbling domination of Republicans in countywide elections. 2018 was a big year for Champaign County Dems and yes students voting were a part of that, the fact that the other party is associated with the asshole in the White House was a part of that, but also a ton of people did a ton of work leading up to the election: canvassing, phonebanking, registering voters, etc. And while this made a huge difference in county elections, IL-13 just couldn’t quite get over the hump, resulting in another two years of Rodney Davis. The stakes were big then, they are bigger now. In 2020, there needs to be more. More canvassing, more phone banking, more registering voters, more pushing outside our comfort zones to talk to people about the stakes of this election. It’s not enough just to vote anymore. It’s also not just about you. Become active for the sake of those who will be most affected by the results in November. Become more informed about the offices, the candidates, the issues. We will be doing our part to share those opportunities with you. You can start by attending one or both of these. Utilize resources such as the Champaign County Voters Alliance and Cheat Sheet of Champaign County. Resolve to do more than just rage scroll through your Twitter feed.
Okay, kids. You have your assignments. Now get out there and be your brand new C-U selves.
The Editorial Board is Seth Fein, Jessica Hammie, Julie McClure, and Patrick Singer
Top image: A large group of people gathered facing the Champaign County Courthouse. The bricks are different shades of light brown, and there are 12 rectangular windows on the side facing the crowd. A leafy tree stand to the right of the crowd. Photo provided by CU Indivisible.