Guys. We made it. The horror show that was 2020 is officially behind us. It was a long, heartbreaking road, and while hardships definitely still lie ahead, it feels as though we’ve turned a corner. I sure hope we have.

Throughout the course of the last 12 months, we’ve collectively suffered greatly, but have also learned much. Many of us have become Web M.D. styled virologists and experts in the art of hand washing (and hand wringing). We navigated the world of bulk buying and toilet paper hoarding.

We’ve also been reminded of the incomparable comfort of bear hugs and high fives. We now understand the true importance of simple dinners with friends.

More than anything, we’ve been taught that it’s the little things that matter most. And nothing teaches that lesson better than having them ripped away.

I know one thing that proved a comfort for me in the dark days of 2020 is looking to the past. Humanity has truly sustained itself through some catastrophic times — wars, famines, plagues, social unrest — we’ve tread it all.

Much of that has unfolded right here in the Golden Isles. So for our first issue of 2021, we’re taking a look back into the past, exploring inspiring stories of Black history (a nod to February’s Black history month). We will dive into the legendary tale of Ebo Landing and the brave Igbos who are said to have sacrificed their lives rather than live in slavery. We are also looking back at the days of segregation on Jekyll Island and how the Civil Rights movement worked to untie the knots of injustice.

We’re also embracing the present moment. We sat down with a former celebrity fundraising coordinator-turned-mindfulness master to discover how to remain centered.

We chatted with local couples to discuss their secrets of making love last a lifetime. And finally, we reached out to artists, teachers, and spiritual leaders to gather advice for moving forward in a meaningful way.

Challenges still lie ahead but with the lessons of the past, present, and future, we hope the waters can become easier to traverse. And, if nothing else, they can serve as a reminder that humans have always faced tough times. But, we are, indeed, tougher.

Love and light for a fresh start, y’all — Lindsey