2021: An Open Letter

A year ago I wrote and performed an end-of-the-year-speech for the first time. It was called ‘United In Silence’, which refers to the many losses of 2020. And also that even though silence is universal, the silence from a specific human being is personal. And here I am, for the sixth year in a row, changing my personal silence into my personal voice. Putting words on paper, not sure yet which words will appear.

Words can change everything, but, at the same time, they can’t change anything at all. When said or written, they can travel through space and time. They’re easily gone or forgotten, but at the same time they can stay forever.

2021 has been, maybe more than ever, a year with two faces. At least, for me personally. I’ve finally graduated from the study I was kicked off six years ago. I’ve met some beautiful new people, and I’ve been able to still see (and hug) most of my friends. I’ve discovered beautiful music, and I’ve read amazing books. I’ve picked up cycling again, feeling free while hurting my own legs and lungs. I’ve been able to play a very enjoyable first half of the volleyball season, after my injury last year. I’ve lost weight which makes me feel more comfortable with my own body than a year ago. I’ve picked up doing theatre again. And I’ve done some writing, even though I wanted to write even more. I’ve been feeling good.

But, as always, I’m also open to paint a realistic picture of my life. And sometimes reality is better when ignored. I’ve been feeling alienated, not just from this world, which is quite logical under the current circumstances, but even from myself and from my own life. I’ve been wondering where I am in life, what my life stands for, where I come from, and what’s next for me. As a philosopher (that’s what I can call myself now, right?) I’ve been used to not being able to answer questions (especially on exams), but when it comes to not being able to answer questions about my own life, it becomes more difficult.  I’ve felt lonely, angry, frustrated, confused, sad, indifferent, apathetical. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to answer these questions, but that is also an interesting part of life, however difficult it may be.

So when I say that words change everything and change nothing at the same time, it’s because it summarizes my year. I don’t even know if the words I’ve just written down will change anything at all, or not, or both. It’s been a year with two faces. And that’s why I’d like to share my picture of fireworks, that look like a freedom pigeon, with you, like every year. It’s a remembrance of your own freedom. Maybe you’re not free in choosing what things will happen to you in life, what things others do that influence you, or even what thoughts occur in your mind, but you are free in choosing how you react to that. You might not be able to change things, but you are able to choose how you handle them.

I started this year by listening to one of my favourite Elton John songs, and I want to end this year in the same way. Words can’t change anything, yet they can change everything. So whichever one it may be, repeat after me: “I’m still standing”. And I hope 2022 brings you the change you wish for.

Make it a good one!

Yours Truly,

Justin

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