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"A New Year...Finally!"

Atlantic County Magazine – GACCA Article

Print Date 1.8.2021

By Judy Brenna

Ahh January… The kickstart of the annual “new year new me” campaign, with gym ads and personal resolutions on high. Incidentally it’s also a time when reprints of documents and bank check orders are up because humans struggle with writing the new year. I distinctly recall having an issue last January through February with writing “2020”; I gave up on the teen years all together and for some reason started writing 2006. I’m sure Carl Jung would have had something to say about that. It’s also a time for health insurance open enrollment, so naturally every insurance company customer service department is on the fritz and you hear people repeatedly screaming everywhere, “speak to a representative!!”.

What a year! Australia set a pretty high bar in January, what with their land burning and all, and then of course ((cue the gasps)) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle called it quits on the Royal Family. From ((deep inhale)) political upheaval and an impeachment trial, to a global pandemic, the stock market crash and record-breaking unemployment claims, the great Elon Musk twitter hack, the Beirut explosion, “Kevins” and “Karens” coming out of every social crevice, every streaming device becoming everyone’s best friend, an insane shortage of toilet paper, a global injustice movement spurred by the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (to name just a few), to massive scales of business foreclosures, people losing their homes and loved ones ((we miss you Kobe and RBG)), our West Coast burning, the unemployed spending all their stimulus money on the most ridiculous things ((I do love my new 65” flat screen smart TV)), to firenadoes, dog-eating toads, a Godzilla dust cloud, oh and we mustn’t forget the murder hornets, a mild threat of the bubonic plague, the election of a new president (although some would disagree), claims of an alternate universe in the south pole, the discovery of potential alien life on Neptune, and the Christmas Star, which is really Jupiter and Saturn super close together but then again this term was created during the times when a stiff wind was blamed on a God ((catching breath)). Full transparency, there was a part of me that was convinced an alien invasion was nigh. The fact that the “Christmas Star” was visible to the naked eye for the first time in over 800 years AND fell on the Winter Solstice, after the most epic dumpster fire of a year? I mean come on! But then New Year’s Eve came and went, and much to my chagrin, no aliens, and all the human expectations of feeling relieved or something totally different went along with it. It was as if we were half expecting to wake up on the morning of January 1st and realize it was all just a terribly long night terror or be woken up to the second coming of Mars Attacks… but nothing. Such is life.

And I didn’t even start on the personal strife. I lost my job, my car, and my dog. I should have written a country song. But I did get engaged, and since I am ((grumbling to admit)) human, and as humans, we seem to forget things when we look at sparkly objects. Case in point, fireworks. It may be a little finger prison, but it’s just so darn sparkly.

And yet, through the gloom and doom, a glimmer of hope was on the horizon. We saw a massive amount of togetherness, through all the social distance. People reconnecting with long lost friends, spending more time with family, weekly virtual happy hours, the drywall industry and liquor sales on the rise from parents banging their heads against the walls then guzzling massive amounts of booze because of virtual schooling. All in all, though, there was a tremendous sense of unity. Because we literally were #allinthistogether. Our own organization, the Greater Atlantic City Concierge Association, made it a point to trudge on, hosting virtual networking meetings, posting promos for local businesses on social media, all in the hopes of boosting tourism and local economy, plus the board met once a month to discuss plans for the future. We even hosted a Virtual Holiday Party, co-hosted by yours truly and President, Jeanine Osendowski, where we sent out holiday-themed cocktail recipes ahead of time, so we could all toast to the season together, and then we played games, drank cocktails and had an overall genuinely good time. We even had an ugly sweater contest. My point is, as history will show, when the going gets tough (for the most part) we come together. You have to appreciate and sometimes rely on the pack-animal-mentality.

It has been one enormously crazy roller coaster ride, but we’re still here. Albeit some unemployed, some emotionally ((yes, thank you, therapy)) and financially struggling, but still here. And now with the vaccine rollouts, there is hope ((even though we may start growing a second head out of our shoulder blades or develop very weird albeit super cool superpowers)). Hope for the regeneration of tourism, hope for the renewal of our economy, hope for people to stop hoarding toilet paper, hope for the hospitality industry and convention business to return, hope for a future of dining out with actual silverware and not prepackaged plasticware, and hope ((shameless #opentowork plug)) Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar, located inside the Tropicana Casino and Resort, calls and asks me to come back. A girl a can dream, can’t she?

Just remember, through it all, The GACCA has been here to help and to serve you, continuously working to recommend, refer and suggest venues, and resources, in our Atlantic County community. Please visit our website,, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, and get the latest on the local happenings. We are your personal cheerleading squad and spirit committee. Don’t forget to use us, it’s what we’re here for. Until next week, ((locking biohazard helmet to hazmat suit in place and pulling the sanitizer spray bottles from hip holster)) #stayjerseystrong.

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