Illustration and photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

Two Alternative Ways to End the Year Early.

...if 2021 was not better — or worse — than 2020 for you.

For many people, 2021 has not been a much better year than 2020, even though September has not yet concluded: wildfires which have raged out of control, named tropical systems which wreaked havoc, the botched end to the war in Afghanistan, record heat in some places, and a pandemic caused by something named either 2019 Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV or SARS-CoV-2 or HCoV-19 or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or something like that — complete with assorted Lambda, Mu, Delta, United, American, JetBlue, and other variants — which led to unprecedented quarantines, isolation, endless shortages of goods and services, long lines, and portions of the travel industry and some other sectors of the worldwide economy which are still struggling to recover…

Two Alternative Ways to End the Year Early.

…and I have seen many people comment on how they would like this year to end already — as early as possible. As with last year, they likely would not prefer to look back on this year with 20/20 — or even 20/21 — vision.

If you are one of those people who believe that a mere delineation of time which was created by mortal human beings can mean the difference towards things getting better or worse, then here are two ways in which you can end the year early with the hope of things improving in general.

1. Celebrate Rosh Hashanah.

Challah raisin
Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

Forget 2021. Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the new year for those people of the Jewish faith. The first of the two days of Rosh Hashanah started at sundown tonight, Monday, September 6, 2021; and the year 5782 begins. Shofar, so good.

The new year is celebrated for ten days before Yom Kippur — which is the day of atonement and the holiest day of the Hebrew calendar — begins at sunset on

Even if you are not Jewish, you can still reflect upon the past year now to clear your soul for the new year. Partake in a round raisin challah, which symbolizes goodness without an end and the wish for a sweet and prosperous new year. Cleanse your body by fasting for 25 consecutive hours on Yom Kippur as you reflect upon the past year.

Be forewarned that the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic will not magically disappear if you do this.

שנה טובה — or L’Shana Tova!

2. Head East.

Clock tower — Beirut, Lebanon
Photograph ©2006 by Brian Cohen.

Time zones — which, similar to years, are also imaginary delineations created by human beings — can be your friend.

Sometime towards the end of December of 2021, you can try to venture out to the Republic of Kiribati, which is in the central Pacific Ocean and a full 18 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone of the United States — but be prepared to shell out at least $2,500.00 in airfare to get there.

You could head over to the island of Kiritimati — which is also known as Christmas Island — in Kiribati; or if you can somehow venture almost 960 miles further to the southeast to Caroline Island, you can be one of the first people to welcome the year 2022.

Caroline Island — which is also known by the names of Caroline Atoll, Millennium Island, or Beccisa Island — is the first place on the planet to receive sunlight each day during much of the year. A realignment of the International Date Line back in 1995 meant that Caroline Island became one of the first points of land on Earth to reach Saturday, January 1, 2000 on the calendar — even though it is located due south of the Hawaiian Islands and north of Papeete in the French Polynesian island of Tahiti.

The good news is that because Caroline Island is an uninhabited wildlife sanctuary with no commercial airline service, the chances of contracting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus are quite low…

…but the bad news is that the words “Attention: Our Boarder is to remain closed until further notice. Nakoimi kain Kiribati ni kabane. Ara boarder e bon kainaki moa ngkai.” appear over a gold bar at the official Internet web site of the president of the Republic of Kiribati; so visiting that country during the year 2021 is ironically likely not an option.

Okay — so perhaps Kiribati is out of the question. If you can find a destination which is the furthest east of where you are based whose border is open to citizens of the country in which you officially reside, you can still end 2021 earlier than usual and enjoy a trip in the process.

Even though the subtitle to this section of this article is Head East, you can instead take a short cut and head west if crossing the International Date Line is a feasible option for you.

Final Boarding Call

empty shelves
Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

Forget about years and time zones. Nothing lasts forever. The unprecedented and historically hysterical madness which has defined both the years 2020 and 2021 will eventually subside and give way to bigger and better things.

You just have to ride it out until that happens — and that may not occur on Saturday, January 1, 2022…

…and I hope that you had a happy Labor Day weekend 2021 in the United States, as Labor Day was today, Monday, September 6, 2021.

Illustration and photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen. All other photographs ©2016 and ©2020 by Brian Cohen.


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