“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
There is probably no wisdom more suitable than Charles Dickens’ evergreen words to best describe what we have all been through in the last year and a half as we grappled with a global pandemic that shook the very foundations of our world as we knew it. 2020 may have been an unwelcome reality for all of us; there’s possibly never been another period in the history of humanity that has tested our mettle so much. However, if there is anything this experience has collectively taught us, it is that the strength of our spirit is as resilient as that of a natural diamond itself – and just like its determined, undeterred brilliance, that we would always shine bright, no matter how dark the shadows seemed sometimes.
It has been a long, tough journey thus far, but finally 2021 has brought with it an entirely new normal – a well-deserved, hard-won one, for never before have we managed to overcome such inconceivable obstacles while also having to teach ourselves how to live and love all over again.
It began with what seemed like an unending isolation as we were all locked down at first, but despite it – perhaps even because of it – we emerged even stronger. With no one else to turn to, we looked for strength and support within ourselves instead. We reached inside to rediscover what we stood for, we found out again what made us tick. We learnt to cope with loss by finding a way to love ourselves first, and through a haze of helplessness we rallied even harder to find a ray of hope deep within – much like a natural diamond going through its excruciating process of transformation through molten rock, traveling to the earth’s surface from over eighty five miles beneath the planet’s mantle, emerging eventually as a shining testament to its own inherent, incredible resilience.
Endless lockdowns kept us from the ones dearest to us – parents, partners, friends, family – but even across insurmountable distances, we rekindled our links over digital screens when we were not able to hug them close to our hearts. We reflected on what was really important, we reevaluated our priorities, and we realised that only when we let go of the excess, could we hold on to what was vital. How much we are loved, a sense of camaraderie, the warmth of belonging – this was what was valuable ultimately, and that is what we cherished as we felt each other’s presence through prized, precious tokens of remembrance. Whether in the warm, sparkling embrace of an heirloom piece handed down over generations that reminded us of where we came from, or in the familiar, intimate twinkle of our everyday jewelry that told the story of who we were – we found glimmers of hope, slivers of happiness and reasons for positivity wherever we could.
The unabashed exuberance of a pair of diamond shoulder-dusters at our earlobes, the subdued shimmer of a single solitaire on our fingers, the comforting tinkle of a pair of our mother’s beloved bangles at our wrists as we went about our unfamiliar, unimaginably altered lives – these were our personal, constant reminders that there would always be a light at the end of the tunnel; that just like the toughest substance known to mankind, that definitive icon of longevity – the natural diamond – we would also victoriously stand the test of time.
Now at the cusp of a brave new world, we stand resilient beyond our wildest imagination, we have already learnt how to deal with challenging circumstances – and now it is only up to us to turn them around into an exhilarating, unbridled optimism for our own sakes and the ones we love. What we now know is that the human spirit is as indomitable as a natural diamond is indestructible – and that just like a ray of light piercing the darkness, the ultimate symbol of love can serve as a dazzling inspiration to us to never lose sight of hope, to never give up on joy. For even when it sometimes seems like everything is the darkest, there’s always a beautiful, brilliant beginning just around the corner – and no matter what, come what may, this time we are all going to shine.