Trigger warning: this article features a lot of sentences that begin with the words “I hope…”
We probably don’t have everything figured out yet. When we were younger, we were always under the impression that the messiness of our minds would somehow morph into the butterfly of ‘adulthood’ someday. But adulthood doesn’t suddenly appear as a messianic figure or a profound realisation: we will never have everything figured out, and life will always be a little bit messy.
I hope we have developed the strength and courage to accept and be ourselves, even in the face of intolerance or adversity. As the cliche saying goes, happiness comes from within. I hope that we have finally come to accept our flaws, and to understand that we are not any more flawed than anybody else: we are simply more exposed to our own faults and perceived inadequacies. Confidence is key in life, even if we ‘fake it’ at first. We lay out the foundations for how other people perceive us and treat us, and when we truly accept and love ourselves, beautiful things happen, and life feels more ‘right’.
I cannot hope that our lives are now problem-free; problems are an integral part of the human condition. But I hope that we take the time to realise that we can overcome these obstacles, just as we have overcome every other obstacle we have faced. But even when life is riddled with problems and stress, things can still be framed in a positive manner. Excessive ‘positivity’ isn’t helpful nor maintanable, but the ability to reframe our circumstances certainly is. I know that we will still have our bad days, but I hope that even on these days, we give ourselves the patience and care that we deserve.
I hope that we are free to fully embrace our own styles – that our clothes are comfortable and (mostly) reflective of who we are, and that our homes are truly our ‘homes’, where we feel most at ease. I hope that we are surrounded by mutual love – oceans of it.
I hope we never give in to the pressure of being ‘cool’, especially at the expense of being our true selves. We are messy, imperfect, a bit crap at times, but that is okay. It is better to be real than to be popular, and the loudest voices are not necessarily the best ones. I hope that we don’t base our self-worth on the approval of others or our abilities to conform to their expectations and stereotypes, moulding ourselves to fit into boxes for others’ comfort. I hope that we are living for ourselves, instead. I hope that we accept help and advice from others, but not to the extent where others’ opinions of ourselves supersede and dictate our own.
I hope that, as adults, we are grateful for the blessings in our lives – for our journeys to wherever we may be now, for the people who are currently in our lives, the people we once knew and perhaps still love, and for the people we are yet to meet. I hope we are grateful for the smaller things, like the smell of coffee in the morning, the splendour of the city at night, and the laughter of our children (or of our friends’ children, depending on the paths we choose to take).
I hope that life is full of travel, little (and big) spontaneous adventures, and beautiful moments that we try to capture in photographs and pictures, but find that we simply can’t. I hope that these moments take us by surprise and that we find ourselves lost in different places and with different people, as we try to find ourselves.
Most of all, I hope that we are living fulfilling lives – not necessarily the most lavish or ‘Instagrammable’ ones. I hope that our own small worlds are filled with both structure and unpredictability – and with love, laughter, and, of course, good food. I hope that we accept that we are just as deserving of peace, contentment and joy as anybody else and that we have the same right as anybody else to exist just as we are, wherever we may be. I hope we’re not too harsh on ourselves, and don’t feel the need to prove anything to anybody but ourselves, and that we don’t compare ourselves to (our perceptions of) others.
Finally, I hope that we make peace with ourselves and our pasts, and accept that aiming for perfection will always be futile. I hope that we are living medium lives (not too ‘small’ and private or idle, nor too ‘big’ and public or robot-workaholic-y) and ‘in the moment’ more. I hope we know that we are doing just fine, and that our past selves would be proud of us.