PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The last day of 2021 began in a thick fog, blanketed over Penn's Landing and enveloping the Art Museum. The silhouette of William Penn was just visible atop City Hall.
In a lot of ways, this year passed in a fog, feeling for some like a continuation of 2020.
"It's the same dance, just a different year, you know what I mean," remarked Greg Robinson of Mount Airy.
"You don't know whether you're coming or going. A lot of stuff took a toll on us. As far as schooling wise- being home-schooled and still having to try to go to work. It's been rough," recounted Toneia Ragsdale of Ogontz.
But there were steps in a positive direction, like a return to in-person learning, and an appreciation that might not have fully crystallized before the shutdowns.
"I got to go to school in real life instead of Zoom, and it was a lot easier to learn," said 9-year-old Shay Jackson of Bridgewater, New Jersey.
As the pandemic slipped from weeks to months, to now years, some discovered a new direction. Exciting ideas and plans were born.
"I just want to go out and explore the world. See what other people want to see," said 10-year-old Lawrence Widnan of Ogontz.
"Do my chores and get money and donate it to the animal shelter," Jackson added.
"Get better grades on my math tests," said Cole Donaghy of Moorestown, New Jersey.
"There's going to be an exodus of a lot of industries, people choosing to grow both personally and professionally into their job roles, and I'm excited for that. People are actually taking more respect and insight into what they do, and they have to enjoy what they do, instead of just going to a job to pay the bills," said John Peter Zadzura of South Philadelphia.
While optimism appears guarded, it is there, along with the hope and love that come with the fresh beginning of a brand new year.
"It's just got to get better. Right? But I think you have to hang onto that hope that somehow we are going to get through another year and that it's going to get better," said Jennifer Smith, who was visiting from Seattle.
"Positive vibes for everybody. Happy New Year!" said Robinson.