Gabriel A. Casey
Dear Associated Student Body
(Of whom I am President),
As I strutted into my first period English class on January the 4th of our brand new year, 2022, proceeding the conclusion of our ever too short Winter Escape from the day-to-day, I held my head higher than I normally would. For this was no typical Tracksuit Tuesday, but rather, a Triumphant Tracksuit Tuesday. For not only had I survived long enough to have witnessed the dawn of a new year, but entered said year with the knowledge I had the power to shape my own destiny, and create the change I want to see in the world.
After having spent the additional vacation day I afforded myself resting and procrastinating, with breaks in between to play catch up on household chores; carefree and content, I felt confident that I had absolutely made the right decision in choosing to forego my homework obligations over the break. After all, I had no finals to stress about, and although it was to the chagrin and outright concern of my teachers, I credit having done so as an immense contribution to my excitement to finish up the term with vigor, and work towards realizing what I had visualized for myself in 2022.
Additionally, I was fortunate enough to have been in good health and high spirits this break, and thus, I was able to spend much of the time allotted to me with family and friends, making memories by taking part in holiday festivities, playing games, sharing stories and experiences respectively, and exploring the vast reaches of beautiful Santa Barbara to my heart’s content, or at least to the extent to which my friends were willing to chauffeur me around.
Not worrying about waking up on time and not sweating other daily time constraints was a relief, and not having to face the dilemma of what I should write as the “Question of the Week” on the “ASB Agenda Reading Verification Check” for half a month was a welcome change.
All that being said, I understand the enjoyable experience I had was not universal by any means, and my situation puts me in a position of great privilege.
I sympathize with those who spent the holiday season struggling, mourning, or simply recovering. Be it from any of the myriad of COVID strains we are tasked with combating, or simply from burnout from all we have been challenged with and have endured this school year. Or, in my opinion, the most disheartening, having fear of facing the future, with the transition into another seemingly bleak year (and accompanying semester) so great, a person’s anxiety becomes crippling to the capacity of inhibiting one’s ability to prioritize creating the change and expressing the hope they wish to see in this world, as they instead find themselves in a perpetual state of fight or flight as they prioritize mere survival.
Though I of course understand and can relate to the feeling of uncertainty surrounding the future being unsettling, and even frustrating (though not quite to this extent), and can similarly understand how it can push a person to the point of losing touch with themselves and their personal power over their environment, or at least their perception of it. And understandably so!
So much of the hope people have been holding on to is tied up in their expectations that life would return to the way it was, or at least the way they knew it, pre-pandemic. Again understandable, as things began to appear to progress in that direction in 2021, though now, things are clearly more “up in the air.” Undoubtedly, we see this reflected in our on campus affairs, as sports events are postponed, contact tracing and case surveillance are tightened, and folks begin once again considering the possibility of returning to remote learning as a viable option to improve the current campus climate.
Faced with this volatility, I can see why people are so fixated on all the other things we have to lose, but I would argue that the most constructive way to navigate times like these are to instead focus on working on creating and realizing all that there is to (and can) be gained.
This is of course, obvious, but I nonetheless think it is an important point to address In pair with, how I know that can be achieved. Of course the question arises, what can bring this hope, and in turn, this change?
Of course, I will reveal the answer to this question, for not only is it something I am extremely passionate about, but I know that if I were to leave you on such a cliffhanger, or worse, a bait and switch, I would have far less readers next month. But not before sharing an anecdote:
After having completed a one pager in my aforementioned 1st Period English AP Lit class, in which we were, in addition to responding to other New Years themed prompts, asked to give a single word to describe what we wanted to get out of the new year. One word to represent an entire year’s worth of personal progress – of highs, lows, goals, dreams and hopes for what this new year would become! What one word could encapsulate all of that?
Although I’m sure you, the reader, can think of a few words off the top of your head that align with your 2022 ambitions, I highly doubt that any answer you could give me would resonate with me as deeply as the one I received, and in turn, inspired me to write this article.
After I had finished my paper, I asked my English teacher, the wonderful Ms. Zender, what word she had chosen out of curiosity. I had to know! What inspired her to stay so chipper and optimistic in such trying circumstances? What pushed her to teach with such zeal? What allowed her to act, and hold herself accountable, as the best version of herself?
In that moment I understood, that the perfection of this answer was in its universal applicability
I knew that if I wanted to achieve so much as a fraction of the lofty goals I set for myself, without driving myself insane in the process of meeting said goals, I would need to manifest all year long!
Manifesting is what will bring about the changes in the world people hope to create.
Having hope is the change! And in having hope, you acknowledge the possibility of the future you wish to live in being created. In your ability to visualize this future, through hope, you have the power to realize this future, through manifesting. Through manifesting, you will always have hope, as your personal sense of security does not depend on what’s on the news or going on in the world but rather, how much you are willing to apply your own ability to realize your destiny through being the best version of yourself. A version of yourself that manifests! If you would like to learn more about my personal struggle with this, and my pointers to hold yourself accountable to always being the best version of yourself, I highly recommend you look into last month’s edition of “Presidential Perspective.”
If I have not already completely lost you by now, I truly believe that what will separate the people who are going to maximize their potential this year and people who are going to fall behind is the extent to which they alter their reality by simply manifesting the change they want to see by willing it into existence.
By practicing increasing your awareness of the personal influence you can exert over your environment, (at least your perception of it) through manifestation, you can go beyond what life was and create what you want it to be. Including goals that go beyond emulating pre-pandemic life, and rather creating your ideal, improved-upon, post pandemic world, and allowing you to #DoBetter in any aspect of your life.
Any hope you realize through manifestation will only have been made possible, not by merely acknowledging the possibility of you having the power to shape your world, but by accepting the reality that what it was you wished to change has already been altered to your preference. Though, it is liberating to understand the influence you exert over your environment, it can be quite daunting at first, as you realize there is a lot less you can, in good conscience, project blame upon as “acting outside of your control.”
Firstly, to manifest anything you should be in the present moment, and be aware of the current situation you find yourself in, so you can decipher what it is you wish to adapt. I’m not going to pretend I enjoy being subjected to inhaling my own stale breath for 6 hours every day under my mask, simultaneously depriving faculty and my peers the pleasure of gazing upon my effortlessly radiant smile. Nor do I enjoy the air of uncertainty shared by all those around me. And although I don’t necessarily suffer from the effects of “second hand anxiety” it is painful nonetheless to see those around me in such turmoil, tormented by the strain of trying to cope with the position we all find ourselves thrown into. But On a positive note, there is clearly no shortage of things that I can work to improve upon!
This is undoubtedly a difficult time to navigate growing up in, hell, a difficult time to thrive in for anybody! Toxic positivity is not going to help anyone. Truly, you don’t have to pretend like everything is fine and running smoothly, if you feel it is not.You need to acknowledge your emotions to remain true to yourself and act (or manifest) within your own integrity. Not every hardship needs to have a moral or a lesson to be valid life experience, as overcoming or simply experiencing any type of challenge can help us learn to be more adaptable, and keener on staying in the present moment! After all, presence is a prerequisite to manifestation and should be exercised as much as possible! To create what you want, or allow what you want to present itself, you can’t just be optimistic, but opportunistic! Manifestation is not always clear cut, and sometimes opportunities will present themselves in mysterious ways, for example through the actions of other people.
It’s always okay to not be okay. It’s okay to feel alone. But don’t act as if you are! In doing that, you are depriving yourself of the necessary resources those around you can provide, in helping you achieve your goals and pushing you to #Dobetter! It’s never too late to care for yourself and prioritize your mental health! It is critical to understand, when navigating your own mental health crises to reach your full potential, that people around you are likely facing similar problems and not only can you likely help each other out, or at the very least be offered a new perspective on what it is you’re going through, people are very often willing to help, so take advantage of the opportunities afforded to you by others and build a support network! Your network is your Net-worth!
I trust, in this you will see the need to not merely coexist, but collaborate and cooperate on reaching common goals with those around you! If you leave your mind open to new perspectives, and are spontaneous, advantageous relationships will come about organically as you will attract other open minded people. Though, nothing will come about if you do not put the grind set to your new mindset!
Before we part ways for this month, as you prepare yourself to conquer 2022 and face the future steadfast – a reminder to ensure your success: Do not merely embrace change, but be proactive and manifest it! Do not limit your capabilities to adhere to someone else’s beliefs or expectations! Embrace what would otherwise be considered impossible!
Considering we live in an era that mirrors some science fiction, you would think that people would not be so opposed to the idea of manifestation. But alas, the power to change the world lies in the hands of those who are willing to acknowledge their personal power, and those who do not mind being made fun of for writing a newspaper article about it (in good taste, that is).
Dear Reader, You now see through the veil, clearly a person cannot sustainably derive security from attachment to the outside world and its affairs, one, to truly be content should derive security from living in the present moment, and having confidence knowing they are staying true to their values, by doing better to become, and remain the best version of themselves, and in that, manifesting the reality they want to create.
Wishing you all good health as you #manifest2022 to the best of your (acknowledgement of your) ability! Remember: With great power comes great responsibility.
As I leave you to manifest at your leisure and discretion. Good luck!
Delightfully Manifesting 2022 to my heart’s content,
Gabriel A. Casey
ASB President (2021-2022)
School Site Council President (2021-2022)
Homecoming Royalty (2021-2022)