As 2021 winds down to a close, people around the globe are bidding adieu to another particularly difficult year...and good riddance. However, as challenging as the second year of the pandemic has been, it has also been a hope-filled year for me, a year filled with accomplishments (ordinary to some people, but milestones, in my opinion, given the struggles I've had over the past few years).
The most important thing I've learnt this year is to hope. Always keep striving for better and leave the rest up to God. In today's world, however, hope is damn near impossible as long as we are open to the influence of external forces that are designed to spread fear and despair and a general feeling of helplessness. I've witnessed this phenomena wreaking havoc not just with other people's mental health but with mine as well. I've seen friends who always used to be positive suddenly become darker in their worldviews, because they are more susceptible to whatever the media tells them to believe. They see it as "knowledge" and therefore empowering. I see it as merely "information" that can be verified and refuted and therefore, I don't attach the same importance to it.
This pandemic, in many respects, is a First World pandemic, and the effects are not only physical, they are more conceptual. As it has evolved into its many variants, I've observed an inability by some in the affluent parts of the world to deal with the reality, a deepening depression. While in other countries, I've observed a resolve, sense of acceptance and adherence to restrictions and a feeling of community, that we need to get through this together.
I'm not trying to diminish the magnitude of the situation. We are living through very hard times. But I cannot place all my trust in a media system that has proven time and time again to spread misinformation and lies in order to spread paranoia. Furthermore, I cannot hold my mental heath hostage to the breaking story of the day. For example, around June 2021, I had been following a certain event in the media for weeks and it got to a point where I couldn't sleep at night, I no longer found joy in my usual hobbies, and my thoughts took a much darker turn. I decided to go on a social media cleanse for a whole month and it worked. I also decided that that was the last time I was going to let anything outside of myself have control over me. I resolved to keep the madness and the chaos out of my corner of the world. If people want to indulge in it and call it power, then so be it. I have found that the constant bombardment of news doesn't empower me. Quite the opposite, it drains me, it takes away my hope, and by doing that gives them power over me. That's not how I choose to live my life.
So my message is this: Despite everything, the world is still a beautiful place, full of good, wonderful people. Yes, there is also corruption, and misery and disease but that's not all there is. If that is all there is, then the world would eat itself alive. I still believe in hope and gratitude. None of us know what the coming years will bring but I know that I don't want to waste them by allowing myself to be manipulated by a system that seeks to render all of us hopeless and malleable under its influence. The only way to take my power back is to block out the noise and focus on the next step in front of me and clinging to hope all the way. Here's to a more joyous, stable and hope-filled 2022!!! Happy New Year!!!