The new year is almost upon us. And as it approaches, I wish for good things for myself.

I wish for happiness. I wish for ease. I wish for the ability to accept when I have made a mistake, and to allow myself forgiveness when I have not lived up to my own expectations. I wish for a moment where I sit among friends, laughing and at peace, without a care in the world.

I wish for strength. I wish for the resilience to move on when I have been insulted, when I have received bad news, when I have been knocked down a peg. I wish for the ability to keep going, to keep fighting. I wish for bravery and perseverance and ambition.

I wish for love. I wish for passion. I wish for art and heartbreak and inspiration.

I hope that I can find the ability to love myself, inside and out. I hope that I can become comfortable with my silence. I hope that I can feel beautiful with my flaws. I hope that I can really, truly accept that where I am in life is where I am meant to be; rather than simply insisting to myself that it is so without any real belief.

And you, you reading this right now, please tell me: what do you wish for yourself? I have given you the starting place, the platform to jump off of; now, soar.

As the new year approaches, I contemplate those I love.

I wish for 2018 to bring fewer worries to my mother, because she deserves a break. I wish for her to continue finding her place in the world, to continue developing who she is and celebrating the truth of that.

I wish for 2018 to bring my sister all the things that she has worked so hard for; the home that she wants, the education that she strives for. I wish for her to find happiness and peace in the life that she has been building.

I wish for 2018 to bring healing to my friends who found only pain in 2017. I wish for my friends to be able to find who they are and really, truly express themselves. I wish for them to feel comfortable in their skin. I wish for them to speak up and be heard and be loved.

I wish for justice for the ignored, the ones who receive justice so rarely. I wish for more wronged women to feel comfortable saying, “me too”. I wish for more families of the murdered to stand up and shout, “black lives matter”. I wish for further battles for equality, because even if they aren’t won in 2018, they are still worth fighting.

Now, imagine those who you love, my dear reader. What do you hope for for them? What do your friends and family need most from the new year?

As the new year approaches, I contemplate those I do not think of, in one way or another.

I think of those who took time out of their day to compliment me, to tell me that they like my hair or my make-up. I think of them, and I thank them for their small attempts to brighten my day. I hope that they see beauty whenever they look in the mirror.

I think of those who paused, just a moment, to tell me a joke while I was at work, to try to make me smile. I hope that the new year gives them every reason to smile as well.

I think of them, and I hope to take their lead into the new year. I hope to be the one who gives others reason to smile when they have none. I hope to make other people feel beautiful when they don’t. I hope to make other people feel comfortable when they aren’t.

It is difficult to think of parties who we might be neutral to, dear reader. We are so quick to judge everyone as either a positive or negative influence in our lives, and we are so quick to forget the ones who we deem easy to ignore. But as we head into the new year, I implore you; who might you be neutral about? And what do you hope for for them?

As the new year approaches, I contemplate those who have wronged me.

Forgiving is difficult, and forgetting is ill-advised. If we forget, then we bear the risk of repeating our past mistakes, when those mistakes were made so that we can grow and learn, so that we can avoid ever putting ourselves into that situation again.

But for this new year, I hope that those who have wronged me will gain growth and knowledge themselves. I hope that they can find it within themselves to understand what transpired between us – not only from their limited understanding of the situation, but from my perspective as well. I hope they can come to understand that they have wronged me. I hope that they can make peace with that and learn from that, and avoid doing it to anyone else.

But I understand that my power is limited in this new year. I know that I cannot control the actions of others, and I know that I cannot make someone else see what they won’t. So as much as I hope that those who have wronged me will learn from their mistakes and avoid repeating their actions in the future, I will not count on it. In 2018, I will not be putting all my energy into fixing someone else.

Instead, I hope to put my energy into fixing me. I hope for the strength and the compassion to forgive those who have wronged me. I hope for the open-mindedness to see things from their perspective, and accept that I am not always right. I hope for the patience to be able to deal with those who are dismissive of me.

I hope for the ability to learn from my mistakes. I hope for the perceptiveness to know when I have been ill-treated, and I hope for the wisdom to know when to leave a situation that is not constructive to me.

I know that I cannot hope to avoid pain in 2018. But, knowing that, I hope that I will learn from that pain, and become better for it. I hope that I will not be weighed down by the depression and despair that is always coming.

And maybe you, dear reader, are hurting. Maybe you cannot bring yourself to say one nice thing about those who have wronged you, and if that is so, then I understand. I am not here to judge you, or insist that you should feel different; you shouldn’t. How you feel now is how you should be allowed to feel. But that being said, confront the wrong. What do you hope for from it? Are there any kind words that you can speak for anyone involved – for those who have wronged you, or for yourself? The pains of 2017 will still be there in 2018, but that doesn’t mean that 2018 can’t bring healing.

As the new year approaches, we contemplate all beings. This is a time for contemplation, after all, and nothing escapes that. We hope for happiness. We hope for peace. We hope that better times stand ahead of us, that the future is filled with so many possibilities. The important thing is, we hope. And in this time of year, we take a moment to send loving-kindness to everyone.

Published by Ciara Hall