What is it you wish for in 2024? | Inquirer Opinion
In the Pink of Health

What is it you wish for in 2024?

Is it for myself or the world?” Bingo, he caught me there. This counterquestion was spot-on for two reasons: One, it was a quick reminder to be more specific, and second, not everyone is self-absorbed. There will always be people whose first thought will always be for another.

Over a period of two days, to better obtain a general overview, I resorted to conducting a quick survey among colleagues and hospital personnel. Responses were reflective of short- and long-term aspirations, ranging from worldly human wants, to the seemingly simple but temporarily elusive, and to a certain extent, even fit the definition of being abstract.

Across all ages and socioeconomic classes, topmost was always a wish to be granted good health. Nothing came close to securing a spot for second place. People were well aware of the repercussions of giving a stereotypical answer such as world peace.


For the younger generation composed of individuals 40 years of age and below, in their wish list were the following: top-of-the-line gadgets, a fancy car, a house and lot for their young family, a chance at winning the lotto, a job that provided a higher pay, the courage to start a business of their own, gain financial independence, finding a significant other, having more time to travel, being blessed with a baby, passing their licensure and specialty examinations, and a life exempt from stress. Two were pretty straightforward and candid enough to say that they were clueless.


For parents, knowing that their time may be severely limited, it was all about their children learning to eventually figure out on their own terms, how to make the most out of their lives.

Three colleagues gave replies that were not necessarily unexpected but required a fair amount of introspection. Having gotten closer in the past couple of years, we were comfortable in sharing our innermost thoughts. One wished that, as a people, we wouldn’t get used to trivializing momentous occasions that have played a huge part in contributing to our national identity, coupled with more job opportunities that would make staying a given, rather than an option. Another wished that more emphasis be given to prioritizing and sharpening the focus on the preventive aspects of health, fully aware of our less than stellar scores in the fight against vaccine-preventable and communicable diseases, and having experienced the pandemic.

For the most idealistic in the group, finding a lasting cure to indifference and injustice, and for a more attainable goal, being that person, having an unwavering faith in the belief that there is still much to hope for. The last one inevitably was the needed cue that got me thinking that it would be wiser and more worthwhile to digress a little and attempt to share pointers in being skillful in practicing how to espouse hope rather than merely adding to the wishlist. Close to that thought was a remembrance of a decades-old conversation with a dear friend who was wise enough to mention that as a physician, hope is the only thing left for one to offer, in circumstances involving health concerns that spelled a poorer prognosis, and there were enough studies to validate this fact. Hope could be the only lifeline left.

Accepting that my expertise is not in psychology, allow me to share some things that have kept me afloat in the past years. If these are practices that could be of help in nurturing needed hope, then I have made a modest contribution to a friend’s wish for 2024.

First, I had to make a conscious effort to work at staying positive and learning to be the bigger person or see the bigger picture in situations that invited negativity. Next, I had to learn to celebrate successes, both big and small. Third, I had to learn to sit still and accept the fact that things will not necessarily go your way, even with the best of intentions. There is value in being patient, and time has a way of teaching you, that things turn out for the better. Fourth, I had to learn to walk away from toxic people or toxic situations, having felt the impact that unfortunately manifested in being physically ill. Invest in activities that generate needed optimism. For starters, always strive to be in the company of joyful individuals. Fifth, I had to keep being grateful for every little thing that came my way. This helped me cope and was instrumental in giving me that much-needed excitement to wake up in the mornings, despite the threat of physical fatigue from the deluge of activities that accompanied responsibilities. Last but not least, if it will work for you, make time to nurture your spiritual growth.

May all of us be blessed with a better year ahead!



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TAGS: In The Pink of Health, medical column, New Year 2024

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