“You know, Prince Zuko, destiny is a funny thing. You never know how things are going to work out. But if you keep an open mind and an open heart, I promise you will find your own destiny someday.”
I would be lying if I said I didn’t have big dreams coming into 2016. After all, it marked the beginning of a new chapter of my life. I felt apprehensive going into my first year as a college student, but at the same time, excited. Fresh starts are a rarity once you reach a certain age, and this was one of them – a chance to leave my quiet secondary school years behind and add width to my tiny social circle. Many had told me that my college wasn’t a place for the soft-spoken, so I attempted a mass culling of my supposedly undesirable characteristics – most notably, my crippling shyness. It worked well in the beginning, but I quickly grew weary of being the loud, outspoken kid I never was. Which brings me to my point – if i were to sum up the entirety of 2016 into one word, it would be…
Looking back, it was foolish of me to believe that I could model myself after societal norms. There’s no perfect sculptor, and indeed – there’s no perfect sculpture! In sacrificing my authenticity, I’ll only be attracting those who value who I’m not. I was never going to be able to keep up the act forever, so why put myself through an emotional purgatory? In accepting myself for who I am, a reserved, unassuming, whimsical boy, I drew in those who truly appreciated me. No surprises then, that these are the people who stayed.
Furthermore, I’ve learnt, this year, to take a step back and let nature take its course. There are many things in life that we can control, but happiness isn’t one of them. We can fight for it, yes, but there’s never a guarantee of its arrival. Genuine happiness is elusive, it comes and it goes. It flows along the strings of time, visiting us when it deems us worthy. We don’t find happiness, it finds us – but only when the time is ripe. And when happiness does knock on our doors, embrace it. Welcome it with open arms, and embosom it until it takes its eventual leave.
You can’t end a year without giving thanks, so here’s one for those who stayed. For my true friends, the extraordinary individuals that I have had the privilege to cross paths with. As per my wish, my social circle was indeed widened! Yet, friendships are never about numbers, as they’re measured in expreriences. The value of friendships isn’t strictly quantifiable, no, but I believe that there’s a certain weight to love – our hearts being the only fair judge of its magnitude. Thank you, my dear friends, for blessing me with more love than I deserve. You filled my soul with a superabundance of warmth – warmth that envelopes me, and lulls me to sleep every night. Like stardust, you illuminate the path before me, making sure I’m never lost in my journey. Here’s to more unforgettable experiences ahead of us, each being better than the last.
Of course, I’ve tried to remain positive throughout this post, but I cannot deny the fact that 2016 was a year filled with adversity. However, I’m inclined to believe that there’s no meaning in always keeping to calm waters. It’s only when we attempt to weather stormy seas that we truly find magic. The treasure chests we’re looking for, they’re never going to be within arm’s reach, are they? I’m glad I took risks this past year, though only a few of them bore fruit. For even if I didn’t manage to find what I was looking for, it would at least be step towards finding myself. And at least for 2016 – I think I did. Happy New Year, all. May the new year bring us new dreams, and may we all be blessed with the strength to chase them. May we all fill our books of life with wonder, and may our loved ones be there to write alongside us.