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Shreya Gupta for Vox

As a new year and a new administration begin, we explore life in transition, from the new utopias to parents bucking the “baby bust” to Congress’s newcomers.

If one can summon any optimism nearly a year into a grim and persistent pandemic, this is the moment to do it.

It is a new year, after all (good riddance, 2020!). Nearly 20 million Americans have rolled up their sleeves and received a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. And no matter your political affiliation, a new administration and transformed Congress and Cabinet perennially serve as a kind of reset button for America, each unfamiliar face a reminder of how wide open the possibilities are. So we cross our fingers in unison and hope for the best.

It only made sense that the latest issue of The Highlight look at life in this tenuous transition. From the beautiful and remote communities — the new utopias — where corona-cationers flock to avoid restrictions (and high numbers of Covid-19 cases), to the would-be parents bucking the pandemic “baby bust” trend and getting pregnant anyway, to first-term lawmakers’ inauspicious introduction to Capitol Hill, we confront a world in flux. With so much change afoot, we turned to poets, too, for words of inspiration and provocation at a time when people need a little bit of both. And if that doesn’t move you, perhaps a crystal to bring on positive thinking will.


Art depicting a human silhouette surrounded by colors and waves.Sarah Gonzales for Vox

Poems for a new year

7 poets — including Saeed Jones, Alex Dimitrov, and Patty Crane — meditate on the year we’ve had, the one ahead, and our dark, persistent past.

By Vox Staff


Rep. Mondaire Jones speaks outdoors surrounded by signs that read, “The people have spoken.”Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images
Rep. Mondaire Jones.

Class of 2021: Mondaire Jones on his “jarring” start as a first-term lawmaker

The New York Democrat discusses the growing progressive movement in his party, and how the US Capitol riot is shaping his priorities.

By Li Zhou


 Getty Images/iStockphoto

The new utopia

Coming Thursday

For a certain jet-setting sect, wide-open spaces with views, few Covid-19 cases, and the freedom to go maskless are all the rage. But who pays the price?

By Sarah Khan


 Getty Images

New crystal, new you?

Coming Friday

As crystals’ soothing popularity continues, one — carnelian — attracts those in search of self-improvement and positivity. Is it too good to be true?

By Jaya Saxena


 Getty Images

What “baby bust”? New and soon-to-be parents on choosing to have kids in dark times.

Coming Monday

“Maybe it’s like a psychological trick to make yourself feel better, but I don’t regret it.”

By Chris Chafin

Author: Vox Staff

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