YOUTH 2030

IT IS SO IMPORTANT and BEAUTIFUL to use your influence for good, especially when you are in a position that enables the words you speak to be heard by numerous people, who typically follow the theories or ideas you bring up in your speech.


My name is Athena Tan, and I am a young person chasing an impossible dream, My dream is to be hired by Conde Nast and work under them. I dream to head a creative video series where I travel to different parts of the world – namely countries and lands where children are in need of help from issues of violence, substance abuse and poverty – and I want to create things with the people there. I know it is a cliched thing to say that I want to change the world and make a positive difference, but I don’t want to just bring aid to the people – I want to help the people achieve their own goals. Hence, I want to work with people living in uncomfortable and unsuitable living conditions by engaging them in the process of empowering themselves.

I want to be a lawyer, retain my abilities to design and produce Carpe Bloom, and be hired by Conde Nast, and above all – make a positive difference to the world. That’s a lot of ands, and I’m adding another one:

And, I can’t do it.

I say this because I’m working very hard on my end to make Carpe Bloom a quality publication and collective, I’m trying to fulfil my responsibilities as a student, and I am creating a better atmosphere for my own family. However, I am struggling with deep-seated anxiety and stress that comes with insecurities about my personality and body image.

I am not having a good time, and I constantly  feel weighted down by numerous things.

This morning, at 6am, I downloaded the audio recording of BTS’ address at the United Nations conference on September 24th. I listened to the recording on the bus ride to school. There was no guarantee that I would become a better person or be able to achieve my goals, but Kim Namjoon constantly brought up the idea of “embracing yourself as hard as you can”.

Despite being someone who touts the ideology of loving your self before taking care of the other things in life, I do not know how to actually ’embrace’ myself. It is very hard to do so when I, like  Hamlet, set myself up in a mirror to see right through the good and instead focus on all the imperfections and mistakes that I have made, or that I am. BTS addressed this in their speech today – that even as idols and artistes they are ordinary men, and even though they are ordinary men they are human, and it is because they are human that mistakes were made and worries are re-surface, but that it is okay.

They have achieved a lot. I hope to achieve a lot. The mind-set they carry with them is one of self-love, having developed this strong mentality after facing much hardship before reaching this stellar point in their careers. All  I carry with me at the moment is self-doubt tinged with self-hate.

I often write about passion and productivity to my readers of Carpe Bloom. I link both, stating that if you have enough passion and drive to take the steps in your journey that will make it easier for  you to achieve your goals, then you have mastered productive action – because this productive action is enabling you to feel confident, better about yourselves, as you eventually will be able to hit a certain target you have set for yourself. I remember writing back to a contributor about how I was proud of their passion for their craft and the productive steps they took to produce a piece of work that other people, like myself, can cherish.

But this idea of passion fueling productivity does not necessarily hold true when I  keep let lingering self-doubt and hatred and pity pool in my palms. Even if I grasp at my keyboard and my pens and my notebooks and work my butt off to write, and design, and edit, and email – I will not feel that I have achieved anything if I do not rid myself of the self-induced negativity.

So the question still remains – how do I become more secure about myself, my flaws, my fears and my ambitions? It isn’t so easy to find the answer.


But I did find the answer – and the answer was in this historical event of a South Korean boyband addressing the United Nations assembly.

The answer was to look at how far my role-models have come, and who they stand for. It is about applauding them for bridging the gap between youth and societal issues and harm, and looking at the people who are listening to them attentively. It is about looking at people as people, and admiring them as a fellow person, for making it very far, and for using their position of power and influence to generate positivity.

It is about aspiring to be in that position, so we can impart the same love and confidence onto more people in the future, too.