Progression Stems from Self-Development

Aditya Thiyag | The Chronicle

A new COVID variant spread throughout the world. A tornado outbreak killed over 50 people and wrecked hundreds of homes. Shorter days, longer nights, and seasonal affective disorder. 

A lot is going on in the world right now, and it’s hard not to get bogged down by it all.

Many people, myself included, saw 2021 as a fresh start – a way to escape the horrid abomination that was 2020. But six days in, the country was rocked by a domestic terrorism incident. The capitol building was stormed, and we quickly learned that a number change within the year was not going to solve our existing problems. 

But deep down, I think everyone knew that. 

Everyone knew that any change we wanted to see was never going to happen instantly. Everyone knew that change wasn’t going to happen as a result of any divine intervention. 

Change has always, and will always, start with us. 

As we approach the end of another long year and get closer to the third year of the pandemic, I’ve been reflecting on 2021 as a whole. I lost people close to me, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one, and with every heartbreaking loss, my hope for a better year diminished tenfold. But with this reflection, beautiful memories flooded back as well. Being surprised by a friend who lives 500 miles away, returning to the high school as a senior after 18 months of isolation, and finally getting my driver’s license were minute things that kept me going, and remembering those made me not just a little more hopeful, but more driven to put some hope back out there in return. 

While it might not be my, or anyone else’s, responsibility to make the world a happier place, I think it’s important to remember that any change you want to see in the world must first come within yourself.

Between disgruntled grocery employees, worn teachers, and depressed students, there’s a lot of misery to go around. But rather than wallowing in this despair, empathize with those around you and recognize that everyone has been fighting their own battles too. 

Knowing that others are fighting unseen battles does not mean you should discredit your own struggles either – taking care of yourself is always important, and someone else struggling doesn’t invalidate your issues. It’s a delicate balance and one that hopefully we’ll all find together as time progresses. But for now, whether it’s complimenting a random stranger’s outfit, or comforting a friend during a time of crisis, there is always a way for you to inject more genuine light into the world. And I hope that you’re not only spreading the supposed “holiday cheer” that’s supposed to be going around, but also being the recipient of it.

Stay strong, MHS.