Year of the Dragon

Yesterday, 10th February 2024, the Chinese Year of the Dragon has officially started. It’s a big celebration in most parts of East Asia, particularly because the Dragon is considered a lucky sign.

So, being that this is supposed to be a favourable year, here are some wishes I have for this Chinese New Year.

1. The end of senseless carnage

This one is obvious, but the first thing I wish for this year is for the two wars that are close by and are killing tens of thousands of people to end. Of course, I wish all wars to end, and of course, this feels like a lamp-genie wish. Still, I hope things get better for both Ukrainians and Palestinians this year, even though the hope is honestly very slim in both cases.

2. More plant-based food and less suffering

Another obvious one is that as many people as possible opened their eyes to the immense suffering the meat, dairy, egg, leather, wool etc. industries are generating every second, and decided to boycott them by going vegan. It’s today easier than ever, so there are no excuses. It’s very simple: go vegan, and you will stop being directly responsible for the torture, suffering, and murder of so many innocent creatures.

3. Less global warming

This is another big one, one of those what-would-you-do-if-you-were-omnipotent kind of wishes. But hey, wishing can’t hurt, right? I hope the Dragon will make people suddenly realise how urgent the climate crisis is, and how fast and radically we need to change in order to avoid disaster.

4. More beautiful people

Although I don’t know them directly, there are two people who I admire and whose work gives me hope in humanity: Maria Popova and Angie McMahon. In different ways (Popova with the written word and McMahon with her music), both artists always manage to capture what I’m feeling and at the same time to give me a new perspective on things. I read Popova’s weekly newsletter almost religiously as I receive it, and listen to McMahon’s latest album any time I can. They both manage to lift my spirits and move me in ways few other things can at the moment.

So for this Year of the Dragon, I hope to encounter other people like them on my way, people who can say what I would like to say, but much better, and who seem to be on the track to making humanity a better place.

5. Less driving, more train rides

For a number of reasons, I’ve been driving around quite a lot for work lately. I hope this trend stops this New Year, and hope I can get more remote work or classes in a location that I can easily reach by train rather than by car. For some reason that I can’t explain, I love travelling by train.

6. More classes that I want to teach

The good thing about freelancing is that, up to a point, I can decide whether I want to take up a certain job or not. When you begin this is more difficult, you are so worried about not getting enough work in that you end up saying “yes” to almost anything. Well, I hope this new year brings me enough work so that I can choose what I want to teach (something which has already started happening), and allows me to say no to work that I don’t really want to do.

7. More swimming

I wrote elsewhere about my difficulty with physical exercise. But I think lately I’ve started enjoying swimming much more than I thought I could. I hope this year I’ll continue in this direction, and keep going swimming regularly. I am starting to realise how good it feels, on both the body and the soul.

8. Blogging weekly

As of January this year, I have started posting about once a week on this blog. I hope to be able to keep this up for the whole Year of the Dragon!

That’s it, that’s my list. Do you have any wishes for this Chinese New Year?

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