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The clock is slowly eating the last moments of 2023. In a couple of hours, the earth, that big blue planet we live on, will have spun another tour around our local star. That is enough for the whole earth population to go bananas and engage in a plethora of festivities, fireworks, bacchanales, and mistletoe kissing. You see, we do not need a lot of encouragement to celebrate something as mechanical, dull and predictable as an orbital path around the sun.  It’s about the 4.6 billionth time that our world spins into another year, but for some obscure reason, it still amazes us.

A lot of the people diving into their champagne cups tonight probably would have a hard time explaining you what a year is exactly, Tara. A frightening big chunk of them still believes the earth is a big flat disc, floating in space.

You just turned 8. That is a whopping 7,52 billion kilometer around the sun. In that vast journey through space-time, you’ve blossomed into a curious, joyful and sensitive girl. You’ve posed a gazillion questions, you learned to read, to question, to analyze.  Together, we contemplate a future woven into a tapestry of challenges and hope. The Earth is ailing, and while we’re part of its maladies, I trust you realize you’re also part of its remedy.

In just a few thousand more kilometers, we’ll greet 2024. Ideally, humanity should have grown a year wiser, but evidence often points against such a hopeful notion. However, you, Tara, have certainly grown wiser over the year. The stories we share deepen, the lessons become more critical, and our discussions more earnest and focused.

In all our interactions—silly, serious, contemplative, hilarious—there have been trails of joy and whispers of wisdom, rivers of hope. Yet, they all simmer down to one simple truth: the world needs us to fight for what is right.

Amidst the glittering city lights, the ceaseless chatter of the crowd, the looming threat of global warming, the horrors of religion and territory-based conflicts, the extinction of countless species, and the relentless march of nearly intelligent technology, there lies a beating heart of courage and resilience. It’s in the people who dare to ask, “Why?” It’s in the souls brave enough to challenge the status quo. It’s in the rebellion base, where warrior princesses like you gather their friends, teddy bears, and Pikachus to resist what is wrong and champion what is right

Tara, as you stand on the brink of tomorrow, know that the world is a canvas of possibilities. The issues we face, from climate change to equality, from technological ethics to preserving our human essence, are daunting. Yet, within these challenges lies our chance to shine, to show what we are truly made of, and to make a difference. The difference you can make with every small, little, light but so significant action you take. Each question you ask, each idea you explore, and each kind act you perform, ripples through my life,  and the very canvas of our world, painting it brighter, one stroke and smile at a time.

You, and your generation hold the pen that will write the next chapter of our story. And as you wield it, remember the immense power you possess. The power to question, to challenge, to reimagine and redefine. The power to fight for what is right. On one hand, there is so much worth fighting for—the beauty, the dreams, the untapped potential of our world. On the other hand, we must acknowledge the stinky mess we’ve created; there is much to right, much to amend. It’s a dual charge: to protect and cherish what is beautiful and to tirelessly work to rectify what we’ve marred. Tara, you and all the other untainted young warriors are ready to start shaping  the future, right from the beginning of this new year. The task is substantial, but so is your strength and your capacity for change.

You’ve seen me pack for work every day, my thoughts heavy with curiosity and hope. And though the journey is mine, the stories are increasingly also yours. With each return, I bring back tales of innovation, of courage, of people standing firm against the tide, championing what they believe in. And so do you. At your very own level, you and your friends make all the difference, every day.

And so, as I now need to prepare for a sparkling New Year’s Eve, I leave you with this promise: I will continue to fight, to learn, to bring back every glimmer of hope and wisdom. Together, we will navigate this ever-changing world, armed with our questions, our dreams, and an unwavering determination to fight for what is right. The journey ahead may be long and sometimes daunting, but with each step, each story, and each victory, however small, we shape a brighter future. Remember, Tara, in the grand tapestry of the universe, every thread counts — especially yours.

As the world prepares to turn the page of 2023, let’s pledge to be the authors of our destiny, the architects of a better tomorrow. Let’s commit to the fight, for it’s in the struggle that we find our strength, in the questions that we uncover answers, and in our dreams that we discover the dawn of a new day, of a New Year.

So here’s to 2024, Tara. Here’s to fighting the good fight, to chasing the light, and to never, ever giving up on what is right.

Happy New Year !

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