Ten Humble Wishes For 2019 Addressed To Whoever Shall Listen
- I want to smell more flowers.
I have never been a person who craves flowers. I would always see the roses wilt in stainless steel glasses, two days after somebody graciously sent them to us. The inevitability of them becoming waste very soon after their blooming faces are delivered to me, put me off of developing a taste for them. Did you know that some people eat flowers? The tiny yellow ones, or the speckled ones that look like stolen sunshine, or the pink ones with long stems. Last year, my partner brought me roses on various occasions. I have a flower vase in my Amazon cart, waiting to be bought. In the end, I suppose, it is all about the memories. When I pass by lawns teeming with colors, I stop and take in the smell. It reminds me that there are people in this world, as soft as those petals, and you would be surprised at how efficiently they catch you when you fall.
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- I want to listen more, to things other than words.
Bring me sounds that make me feel safe. The sound of my parents’ regular breathing as they sleep, the sound of the wind tugging at the chaddar hanging in my balcony, the sound of birds flying homeward as the dusk slowly stretches across the sky. I want to listen to the rain patter against the floor pit pat pit pat pit pat. I want to hear the thunder roar from a safe distance. I want to hear babies cackle, coo, laugh, like they hold the key to all things beautiful. I want to listen more, and not just to conversations, stories of woe, but excited chatters. I want to experience the thrill of hearing a friend stammer in excitement. I want to hear songs I have never heard before, and understand that no matter how bad things get, all the music in the world will find a way to fix me.
- I want to be more emotionally available, for myself.
I want to stop chasing the ideal of spreading happiness at any cost. I want to stop sacrificing myself for ten out of the ten people who could use some help. I want to hold on to the understanding that I cannot continue to treat myself as a Vending Machine for happiness tokens, and let others do the same. Don’t misunderstand, please. I love being there, being present, being available, being nice. But I want to do all of that for myself, too. My dungeons are overflowing with skeletons I have stuffed there for safekeeping. It is time for them to see the light; time for them to be dusted, buried, and forgotten. It is time for me to help myself, unapologetically.
- I want to plan better.
So that trepidation is always a month’s notice away. My mind and body are tired of shouldering the stress that comes off of the irresponsibility of others. This year, I hope I can chart a plan that works around unsure terrain. I hope I can get from point to point like a neon cat gliding through a pixelated rainbow. I no longer want to allow the inefficiency of others to hamper my mental or physical health. Our lives are a stress marathon. Our bodies are animated jugs of coffee, just waiting to implode. This year, I want to treat myself better, and make arrangements for when others don’t.
- I want to spend less time fighting online.
While discovering your potential husband based on your pet preferences, is admittedly rather addictive, that is not all that the internet is about. The infinite pool of hate is alluring. Once you participate in it, it takes Herculean strength to quit. The desire to tell off the uneducated, ignorant, Conservative Tweet-er, is very strong, but it chips away more of your mental health than it affords education to the ape you are fighting. I have spent cumulative years of my life on Facebook comment threads, trying to teach a misogynistic incel the fundamentals of Feminist ideology. Despite my hard work, and everything I want to believe, I know that those long, research filled comments did not make a single bit of difference to that man’s life. He probably cursed at the computer screen for a while, then went back to mentally traumatizing his household. This isn’t worth my time.
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- I want to disconnect in order to connect.
Often when I am out with friends, or at home with my family, I catch all of us scrolling through our feed as the other person animatedly relates an exciting story to us. I have also spent several afternoons with friends, where our time together mostly consisted of showing each other the memes that we found funny. As old school as this sounds, I consciously tried to avoid my phone during conversations, for a while, and could immediately feel the difference. When we are young, with the promise of a very long life ahead of us, the value of connections doesn’t really seem that necessary to survival. But it is a safety net, an unparalleled source of joy, and one that I will learn to respect more this year.
- I want to be more aware of the events of the world.
Ardently following news updates is no longer a choice, but a necessity in a world where so many wrong decisions are being made. We have elected leaders who discredit global warming, rubbish the struggle of immigrants, discriminate on the basis of religion, and inch closer towards the brink of nuclear apocalypse. The world is in a worse place than ever, and we cannot let policy makers fool us any longer. Collective action is more effective than we understand. A little support goes a long way.
- I want to try sourcing products from local artists.
Over the last year, I have come into contact with a very long list of independent artists who create and sell beautiful products. Instead of heading over to Amazon, or buy stationery from posh stores, I will try finding products I like from creators around me. Supporting the local talent is important in establishing the worth of creative potential. If we give over our entire loyalty to multinational corporations, then their monopoly will wreak havoc on the labor of the artist. Over time, I have bought bookmarks, calendars, diaries, etc. from independent artists, and they have been so much more beautiful than the products I have usually used.
- I want to be softer.
The last two years have afforded me several instances of extreme distress. I can feel my jaws clench at the slight remembrance. I want to unwind my muscles, and remind them that we are safe now. I want to tell my soul that the going won’t always be tough, but it won’t always be easy, and while barriers keep you safe from pain, it also blocks out the sunshine. This year, I want more sunshine, I want more rain, I want the seasons to tear through my guard and sweep me off my feet. I want to say ‘I love you’ more’. I want to be more affectionate, hug more, smile more, hold hands. I want to be everything that I want to be surrounded by. Love, through and through.
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- I want to be kinder, to myself, to everybody and everything around me.
And sometimes that will mean allowing myself to be angry to fight fire monsters (or, in this case, real life trolls). I want to spread warmth till our insides feel like melted butter. I want to be more patient, more understanding, more accommodating, and much less angry. I want to be able to hold myself still during a bout of ugly feelings, point out their irrationality, and let them fly out of my system. I want to be able to have arguments without losing my head, because it is less important for me to win, and more important for either of us to learn a new perspective. I want to forgive myself for the past wrongs, ones I have apologized for over a million times. I want to work my trauma out in therapy, and not run away from it as soon as we start opening the Pandora’s box inside my brain. I want to live, to laugh, to flourish, and help each person around me do the very same.
I want to be.
“Keep a smile in your pocket when the wolf is rat-a-tattin’ at the door
Just lock it tight
Keep a dream in your heart and you’ll never ever want for more
Unless you’re in a knife fight
Chin high, spit in the eye
Of the folks who can’t stop laughing at the stupid things you’ve done
Don’t ever stop
Even though your heart is breaking
Don’t look over your shoulder at the love you left behind
They say life’s too short, but they’re wrong
—It’s so long
Sometimes the only way to go
Is to just go on.”
– Just Go On, ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’
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