"This may sound dramatic, but I've recently found myself thinking a lot about how different my life was in January - just a few months ago. A new decade had just started, I had finally stopped eating Christmas leftovers for breakfast, and I was just about over my New Year's Eve hangover. I had also forced myself to join a gym so that maybe, just maybe, 2020 could be the first year I would have a body ready for summer. This was going to be a good year.
And then it all started. Firstly, the Australian "black summer" - the raging bushfires that filled our timelines with herculean firefighters and charcoal coloured koalas. Next, the US-Iran crisis, that reminded us of how certain conflicts can have nuclear consequences for all of us. And now, we're in the midst of a global pandemic that has drastically changed all of our societies, and how we will live our lives for the near future (not to mention how it has laid waste to my gym membership, and with it my grand #summerbod plans). Oh, and to top it all off, Brexit is STILL a thing.
What a disappointment 2020 has been so far. But despite it all, I‘m still genuinely optimistic about the future. I am young, healthy, and I have my whole life ahead of me. And as I’m observing this shitstorm happening in the world right now, I also see how all these young people are pushing social change, paving the way for the future leaders of our generation. The Arab Spring, the Civil Rights movement or Climate Change - they all have one thing in common - passionate teenagers and young adults acting as catalysts for change and demanding action. The green youth of today, led by a 16-year-old, are increasingly forcing their voices to be heard. And governments are starting to act. The more we scream and shout, the more progress we see, we know that by now. So I’ll stay positive, patient.
And as my generation is creating our future, and I’m cheering loudly for its pioneers, I’ve come to realize that we also need to build our own paths. Meet people from completely different walks of life, build relationships with young and old and travel the world as much as we can. So I just quit my job, and when the pandemic quiets, I’ll go travelling, probably to Sri Lanka. I’ll find a new adventure, and I’ll keep enjoying this world - always with a smile."
- Syed, England