New Year’s Eve optimism

Ken Kok, Design Director

Illustration by Ken Kok

As 15 minutes remain to enter the new year, I cannot help but feel estranged.
This New Years simply feels different compared to others over the years. The lack of energy and enthusiasm runs deep across my home, something unheard of during the holidays.

We made our way to the rooftop quickly with 5 minutes to spare and once there, I was surprised at how few of the neighbors were there, as it’s usually unbelievably overcrowded. I grabbed a seat farthest away from everyone feeling the chills of the snow run deep. As more people came, they gathered in one spot where the Space Needle’s visibility was the best. I soon joined the crowd as there was one-minute left and set my phone to record.

No countdowns, no cheering, just small talk and then one guy says “Ohhhh it’s 2022!”. The awkward clapping, photoshoot and admiring at the Space Needle’s fireworks commence. Soon afterwards everyone goes home, and the new year begins. As we headed for the elevator, we met this kid who was about 6 years old with his mom. The kid was very energetic and ecstatic after seeing the 15 min firework show. He was jumping and screaming “MORE! MORE!”. Which made me question, why is this kid so full of excitement? Is it because I’m getting older that I can’t be as happy-go-lucky as he is? Do I have depression? Am I getting old?

I went to my room and opened Tiktok before I went to bed. I then came across this Tiktoker that in my opinion is the wisest person I could relate to. One of his followers asked, “reasons why would you want bring a kid to this world?” and he replied:

“The media portrays the world as cruelly as possible, but that is not always the case. People today have great technology, people are less stressed today than back in the 1800s. WE HAVE THE INTERNET. We are extremely lucky to be born in this era. Though the pandemic does affect people’s minds psychologically, this mainly affects kids in school. Not mine though since my kids are too young to even grasp what’s going on..”

This made me reflect and have a completely different perspective about the pandemic. While it’s true that the current situation sucks right now, I can’t help but look in the past and realize how advanced we are. In terms of technology, the iPhone was recently created and is not even 15 years old. Traveling, import/export, and the economy was at an all-time high just around 2 years ago in 2019. Media and entertainment are advancing rapidly as CGI, AR, and immersive technology are beyond comparable in the last decade alone. Transportation, foodservice, and lodging advancements such as Uber, Lyft, Door dash and Airbnb overtook their respective industries in the last six years.

The world certainly seems very dysfunctional as of current events, especially with capitalism leading the way, though I remain optimistic and curious as to what we have in store once this pandemic is over. This said curiosity and optimism was further fueled after watching Spiderman – No Way Home (no spoilers!… if you know you know).