Cannabis use has increased dramatically in 2020 — and the pandemic isn’t the only cause. In truth, marijuana use has been increasing steadily for the past 30 years as pot propaganda has weakened and cannabis culture has gone more mainstream. Researchers believe that legalization of recreational marijuana has been an effect of the increase in weed’s popularity, not the other way around. 

If your 2020 was life-shattering, you might be looking for a new way to live come the New Year. Fortunately, stoners before you have paved your path with a few philosophies to choose from:

We Are Only Tiny Particles Moving Through Space

Only a year as catastrophic as 2020 could wake up the entire Me Generation to the realization that they are not the main characters of some epic story but rather merely some sentient goo on a small rock floating through space. The scope of the universe is all but impossible for our tiny human minds to comprehend; compared to our sun, ants and humans are roughly the same size, and compared to the rest of the universe, our sun hardly exists at all.

Yet, instead of allowing this realization to sink you into despair, you should allow your insignificance to liberate you. Not every little thing you do matters, either in the scope of your life or to the greater scheme of the universe. While you should carefully consider big decisions, you don’t need to worry about whether watching your favorite sitcom every night is wasting time or whether eating fast food once a month will result in premature death. You should try to enjoy your small corner of the galaxy as much as you can while you can, and sometimes that means cutting yourself slack.

Waking up Each Day Is Not the Same as Living

For most Americans, 2020 has felt eerily like Groundhog Day. Since March, most people have not felt comfortable leaving their homes, even to go grocery shopping or chat with neighbors. As a result, every day progresses the same: wake up, log into work remotely, order food online, stream a television show, pet the dog or cat and go to sleep.

Routines are good for productivity, but a routine isn’t necessarily the best recipe for a fulfilling life. Once COVID becomes a thing of the past, you might try to commit to activities that make you feel more alive, like spending more time with friends and family, seeing the world and taking risks. Not every waking moment needs to be devoted to living life to the fullest, but you should try contributing, not merely consuming, during your time on Earth.

Life Is a Draft, a Rehearsal for a Show That Will Never Play

No one living today has ever lived before — ignoring, of course, those who believe in reincarnation, but it is worth noting that even Buddhists can’t remember the details of their past lives. Everyone is bumbling through life, trying things and hoping for success but sometimes failing miserably. Life feels like practice, but the truth is that there is no “final draft,” no show to prove what you learned and do everything right.

You need to give yourself permission to make mistakes — and not even make mistakes but life to a lower standard than perfection. You don’t need to keep everything in your head; you can always look up a list of dispensaries in Arkansas when you can’t remember which pot shop is your favorite, and you can rely on GPS to get you to the right place without feeling ashamed about your poor sense of direction. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and no one should be made to feel less-than because they aren’t always operating at their best.

It Is Impossible to Love Another Before Loving Oneself

Sure, you believe in self-love, but what does that actually mean? To some, self-love is that you get to take bubble baths when you are feeling stressed. To others, self-love is thinking that you don’t need to wear a mask because you have perfect health and surely won’t be responsible for infecting dozens of others at holiday sales.

Ultimately, self-love shouldn’t be some excuse for laziness or narcissism. Instead, you should use self-love to appreciate your body and your mind as it is right now, in this moment. If you try to channel that love into someone else before yourself, you will develop unhealthy coping mechanisms that ruin every relationship. When you feel great, you are better equipped to help others feel great.

The main message for everyone in 2021 should be this: Life is short. Those who have seen firsthand what the virus can do know better than most that being kind is the most important thing — but it is also important to find satisfaction and fulfillment in life. Sometimes that means traveling to Europe with family, and sometimes it just means rolling a joint and watching a movie. When it is your life, you get to decide what matters most.