Noah Gwatkin is hopeful that his generation will create better again after 2020″slap in the face,”
Name: Noah Gwatkin Name:
Age: 18 Age: 18
Dreams of: Working on it all the time
A new year means a new me, doesn’t it? I’m not looking for a new me this year – but I’m certainly different from the me that began last year. I always thought things would get better every new year, for starters, but the older I get, the more I realize that I’m running out of luck.
And I’m still not that old.
As we head into 2021, I feel optimistic, but I think we’ve all been punched in the face by 2020.
I got struck in the chest.
I almost held my breath as the months, weeks and hours of 2020 passed, trying to stop the insanity. Then, when we closed down last year, I started to be afraid that madness wasn’t around me, but that it may have been me.
It was as if last year’s confusion and turmoil had actually consumed me.
I felt like I was thrown into the deep end last year and told to learn how to swim.
Waiting for a new tragedy, a new thing to unite behind, or a new bomb that could send my friends and me into hysterics, I was engulfed by the news.
I felt forsaken.
It’s been difficult to ground myself.
And I wasn’t the only one; it was the same way my friends felt. 2020 has been a physical, emotional and social war. I see much of the same difficulties for 2021: potential covid outbreaks, work instability, vaccines, choosing whether to go to college or tafe, and growing up on top of that.
Throwing your hands up and giving up is tempting.
It would be an understatement to say that I have been growing since last year, and I believe that in the years to come, I will be growing and flowering, like the burnt plants that sprout after a brush fire.
I’m definitely more careful about how big I’m dreaming or how far I’m setting targets, but I’m confident we can rebuild stronger.
I think my generation is linked more and more, and that is a positive thing. We all rely on relationships, on the glue that keeps together people and their social lives. What do you do when you have a pandemic and you can’t communicate in a typical way with people? Instagram, Facebook, FaceTime, Snapchat, Tiktok. You use technology. For so many people, these have been meeting places and we young people have pioneered this.
In ways we couldn’t have imagined a few years ago, we’ve built spaces to communicate, share ideas, evolve, experiment and extend our ideals.
This ensures that those who need support, are fighting for a cause, or sharing their personal stories will interact far and wide with individuals.
This means there is a whole new generation of young people who are politically inspired and eager to create solutions to our biggest problems. For the year ahead, that’s something that excites me.
As a consequence of the pandemic, public discourse and social change of the past year, my generation has become more caring, passionate and adaptable adults of the future. We have had a unique experience of developing, widening our field of vision to see others around us and considering how we can help others, close or far.
If we did not use what we have learned to strengthen ourselves and advance our public debates on topics from homelessness to health care, it would be a shame.
I was at a crossroads with the problems that 2020 held for me personally – breakups, depression, family issues over sexuality, unemployment, and so on.
Do I change and adapt, make mistakes and learn, analyze and move forward, or do I wallow in my own self-pity, unable to act, too worried about the next step, and too afraid to take risks? The former, I guess.
2020 is going to help.
It has helped me – to be a better friend, son, citizen, young parliamentarian and worker.
I’ve learned how to get up, rebuild and move on.
That’s why I haven’t made any resolutions in this new year.
It is time for change, movement towards what I hope will be a better year, for myself, my friends and my family. Adapting to such a changing