Youth Voice – Fill the year – pursue a dream

Welcome to 2023. If we are to take the glass half empty approach for assessing the year so far, one may say that this has been the year which has deprived many of a dreamy summer spent at the beach, perfecting a tan and enjoying dry camping adventures. However, if we are to look at the glass half filled, I know there will be many Coasties who will be grateful for the full water tanks, not having to water the garden, and a drought-free summer! 

In between the rain, one of my summer highlights was watching the world class tennis that was in our backyard at the ASB Classic. This particular match featured a Kiwi tennis player who was a wildcard entry to the tournament. The Kiwi, ranked 575 in the world, had the breakthrough opportunity to compete in his first ATP tour match against a former World No. 7 player (which is kind of a big deal in tennis). This was an opportunity to pursue a dream that wasn’t even an option last year with Covid cancelling the tournament. 

As we start 2023 and feel like we are ‘coming out the other side’ of the Covid pandemic, we are in the position where we don’t have to face as many cancellations and limited opportunities. With the nostalgia of pre-Covid times feeling less nostalgic, I get the sense that this is the year to reimagine possibilities and to dream again. 

For young people, the last few years of Covid has impacted travel, study, sport and creative opportunities and dreams. As we come to terms with life almost as we once knew it, it’s important to acknowledge the impacts lost dreams and opportunities may have had on personal wellbeing and mentality. The demotivation that comes from dampened dreams can lead to altered habits and a disoriented sense of direction. 

However, may I suggest that perhaps the New Year is the chance to refresh, shake off the Covid complacency and embrace change. It could be the fresh start needed to make a metaphorical debut on court. Whether that be signing up to a sports club, jumping on a plane for an overseas travel adventure, making a concerted effort to focus on studies, getting involved with your community or trying something completely new! 

Like the tennis player, let’s take this year as a wildcard entry to stepping into whatever thing may have been put on hold over the past three years; to maximise every opportunity and have an open minded, give it a go mentality. 

May your 2023 be the opportunity to dream and envision a world of possibilities again.