COVID-19 vaccines given to residents of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County
Harrisonburg and Rockingham County population that is fully vaccinated

The Elderly Aunt’s lessons of 2020 and hopes for 2021

By the Elderly Aunt, advice columnist

Now that 2020 is done and dusted, the Elderly Aunt’s editor at The Citizen asked her to jot down her thoughts on what she learned slogging through it, followed by her expectations for what’s ahead in 2021.

Simple, right? But in the Elderly Aunt’s opinion, the year-end-summation part has been massively overdone by pundits who take themselves way more seriously than she takes her elderly self.  And so—as a way to remain true to her inner elderly-impish self—she decided to stick her tongue firmly in her cheek before touching finger to keyboard.

Her Take on 2020, the Year that Was …

  • Opinions didn’t have to be grounded in reality.  
  • Sports were less fun to watch on TV with cardboard crowds and fake noise.
  • “Patriotism” became a marketing concept.
  • Democracy worked better when people knew what they were talking about. 
  • If you didn’t agree with someone’s political views, name-calling became an accepted alternative.
  • It was unbecoming to allow a political opponent to finish a sentence.
  • The Rule of Law was optional depending on personal connections and wealth.
  • We were all guilty of stereotyping.

That’s enough out of the Elderly Aunt. Please feel free to post your own “lessons learned” on her Facebook page.

2021, the Year that Is…

It seems to the Elderly Aunt that 2021 is starting off with almost everything in the public sphere “all ahoo”—to borrow one of Dr. Steven Maturin’s and Captain Jack Aubrey’s favorite descriptives. The COVID 19 pandemic has emboldened some of the worst in us—ignorance, greed, intellectual laziness, social media’s malignant nuttiness, soul-less politicians, the polarization and politicization of all things, fear of social change, and anger at the rapidly changing economy. 

To combat this, the Elderly Aunt suggests we all resolve to interact as our best selves in all dealings with each other, including political ones. Her own three guidelines for pulling this off are:

  • Be kind
  • Be useful
  • Do her best to figure out and accept the truth, whether she likes it or not.

Yes, she’s a happy, sappy, aging hippie, but daggone it, what’s the alternative? Eeking out on Twitter?  


The Elderly Aunt offers her thoughtful responses to your questions about this wild ride we call life on every other Monday.  And as a general disclaimer—to quote the elves from The Lord of the Rings — “… advice is a dangerous gift, even given from the wise to the wise.”

Got a question for the Elderly Aunt? Ask her on Facebook or email your question to [email protected] with the subject line “Elderly Aunt question.” (Just please don’t ask detailed financial questions). 

cropped-ending-va-creeper-logo

Hosting & Maintenance by eSaner

Thanks for reading The Citizen!

We’re glad you enjoy The Citizen! We work hard to publish one news story every weekday, and depend heavily on reader support to do that. We keep our overhead low; 85 cents of every dollar we spend pays local writers to cover local news in our lovely local community. Thanks for your support.