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Welcome to the “New” Issue of The Highlight

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.

Shreya Gupta for Vox

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.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

The new utopia

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

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.”
Rep. Mondaire Jones.
Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

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

Getty Images

New crystal, new you?

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.

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

By Chris Chafin


Mud libraries hold the story of the Earth’s climate past — and foretell its future


How to talk to a loved one about their health


Why do we keep tabs on people we can’t stand?

View all stories in The Highlight