This is going to be a dark one, isn’t it? It is the ninth year you are doing this and motivation seems to be on short supply this time. Especially when the year that has been was 2016. But let’s at least try. You owe it to your downtrodden spirit. Despite your annoying tendency to behave like you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, you don’t. Nobody does. And that in itself should be a comforting thought, aye? All things considered, you have had a pretty good year. You tread the path of exploration with gumption and made good on your promise to stretch the limits of your potential. Through luck, smarts and hard work, you managed to carve out the silhouette of a conscious and purposeful presence in this vast and perplexing world. Existence before essence, as Sartre would say. Perhaps most consequential is the realisation that your proclivity for subversion can be of service in a time of uncertainty and fear. Use it wisely. And don’t be a snob. You often use provocation as a shield to avoid difficult conversations. I know it is easier that way. But ease was never going to be the yardstick by which you measure the value of your existence, was it? While we are self mutilating anyway, you should really stop using spite and revenge as the default response to unpleasant emotions. It wasn’t cool when you were eighteen and it sure isn’t cool now. Suppress your reactionary sentiments and be thoughtful and deliberate in your communications. Empathy, humility and integrity never go out of vogue. Resist the urge to retreat into safe and familiar quarters. Steal, or still, the echo. The chambers are dangerous and frankly, you are not faultless in their creation. Your ultra-rational and logical approach to everything could potentially lead to a kind of spiritual myopia that stifles your quest for inner peace. Loosen up a little on that, it won’t hurt you. In your masochistic and relentless pursuit for meaning you may have neglected the very things that bring joy to you. I know, I know. Everything that is important to you is under attack. Freedom is flimsy, liberty is fragile, humanity is delicate. But so is your happiness. Stay vigilant, but do not rob yourself of the finer things that make life worth living. Like an ice cream on a hot summer day, or the silent majesty of a clear night sky. It may sound clichéd and contrived, but for the coming year I want to wish you courage. Courage to stand up and fight for what you believe in. Courage to never let down your skeptical guard. Courage to take the road less travelled. Courage to engage passionately and care deeply. Courage to make mistakes. Courage to admit when you are wrong. Courage to be kind when kindness is inconvenient. Courage to keep your symptoms of creeping privilege at bay. Courage to confront uncomfortable truths. Courage to offend. Courage to resist. And when things look bleak and you feel like giving up, courage to hope. You are loved, and so will be fine.