Dubai Diaries: 2022, the year of hopeful thinking

Hopeful thinking just might be what we need to plough through the unknowns of the year.

By Gopika Nair

Published: Sun 2 Jan 2022, 10:24 AM

There’s something about the end of the year. Memories gush from years gone by, ambitions are at an all-time high and there’s a desperation to solve all of life’s unanswered questions before the fireworks light up Dubai’s skyline.

Will 2022 be the year I hop on an airplane and see bits and pieces of the world? Will I finally fit into my favourite pre-pandemic pants, the ones that prompted a boy to tell me I had ‘cool style’? And lastly, the more loaded question: What will the year ahead look like?

I won’t lie and say the question marks kept me up at night, but they bounced back and forth in my mind like a Newton’s cradle in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve.

The first question struck recently, when I watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and saw the sprawling Icelandic scenery. The snow-capped mountains and low grey clouds reminded me of the year 2018, when I was 21 and boarded a plane to Oslo, Norway, for a solo trip. I watched a live performance of Grease in a language I didn’t understand, savoured hot bowls of creamy fiskesuppe (fish soup) on frosty nights and aimlessly rode the tram while listening to Sigrid, Black Lips and Lord Huron on repeat.

The second question nearly burst out of my closet in the form of plaid, grey pants. I don’t know when, or if ever, I will fit into them again, but they’re my token of being 23 in Dubai, just months before face masks and hand sanitisers became ubiquitous. That was the year I forged new friendships, ate one too many Nepali momos and rediscovered the city I grew up in.

The final question has been weighing heavily since the beginning of December, when I reunited with two friends and one of them said: “I think about what would’ve been if the three of us hadn’t met this time last year.” I, too, get caught up in the what-would’ve-beens and what-could-bes. More often than not, it fills me with gratitude, which is something that has become a preachy buzzword of sorts but is nonetheless a necessary element for contentment.

In short, 2022 is a giant question mark, especially because the world is battling uncontrollable circumstances and situations. But it has already been christened the year of hope. And why not let it be?

Looking back and envisioning the snags to come is all too easy. Hopeful thinking is tougher, but it just might be what we need to plough through the unknowns of the year. Whether we aspire to travel, get fit, make something bigger of ourselves, establish boundaries, reclaim a forgotten sense of pride or just be better in whatever sense of the word, we must first have hope and then make it happen.

More news from Life and Living