Two months ago, one of my inner-circle was in a job, in her own flat, surrounded by friends who love her and living her life. Fast-forward to today. She’s out of work, she’s rented out her flat, she’s still surrounded by friends and family who love her and she’s about to embark on the next chapter of her life. She’s bought the ticket and she’s taking herself off travelling for the next year. She’s terrified and excited. She’s going to have the best time of her life. She will see friends she hasn’t seen in a long time and she will experience things that most will never. She’s brave, she’s hopeful and she’s pressed the f*ck-it button and she’s doing it. Personally, I’m absolutely delighted for her. I absolutely believe it really will be the best thing she ever does. The door to her office closed behind her but the hundreds of doors to a thousand different paths, experiences and people have just swung open, ready to accept her and her backpack.
I hope she experiences the phenomenal, she deserves to. I hope she reinvigorates the friendships with those she hasn’t seen in too long. I hope she takes all that she is and shares it with the world. The world will then be a richer place. The actions of this lady, give me hope.
Hope. A four-letter word. It’s an amazing feeling to experience. But, sometimes hope just isn’t enough. Sometimes, hope falls just a tad short. Hope is a good thing. But hope needs a helping hand, it’s not enough on its own. Hope needs action to become reality. Hope needs what my friend is doing. Hope needs that bravery and the willingness to try, to make an effort. That which you hope for can be that which you live (another four-letter word) but not without effort.
The actions of others gives me hope for a great deal of things, from the mundane to the sublime. But hope without action is destined to remain forever a wish. Aspects of our life are sometimes outwith our control, having epilepsy, having cancer, being hit by a drunk-driver for example. We can hope that these things don’t happen to us, but there is little we can do to prevent it. Hope, I think, in this case is directed at the actions of others. I’m not a scientist, but the actions of scientists to find a cure for the currently incurable, gives me incredible hope. I hope that the action of a drunken person handing their keys to a sober friend means one less devastating accident.
Having epilepsy gives me cause to live on hope. I hope that I don’t have a seizure today, I can’t fully control it, but I have done all I can in terms of taking the advice of doctors. I hope that if I should have a seizure, I don’t hurt myself badly or anyone else at all! I hope I can find it in me to live today as well as I can. I hope I don’t give myself up completely to epilepsy, depression, wine or chocolate. I hope I can find the courage to take action to turn my hopes into a reality. I hope I can find it in me to press as many of the f*ck-it buttons between me and my dreams as I can. I hope I can give hope to those who are struggling. I hope that I can be the friend, the relation, the partner that I want to be. I hope I am the friend, the relation, the partner that I think I am. I hope I can find meaning in having epilepsy, I hope I can continue to live alongside it and I hope that I can help find a route through it and share that with others.
We are on this earth for a nanosecond. 80 human years if we’re lucky, that equates to the blink of the eyelid of time. Some of us will be able to achieve greatness that’s recognised by millions in our lifetime and by millions more after we’re gone. Others of us will be the action that allows the greatness of others to become more than hope. The people who find the cure for cancer are driven by the cancer-sufferers’ hope to find the solution. The names of those people will be written down and celebrated for decades to come. The names of the hopeful will be forgotten by all except those who love them or were touched by their hope, but without them there could be no cure. The life of the celebrated is worth no more than the life of the hopeful.
We are all here on earth for such a short time, that it makes no sense not to be hopeful. So live with hope in your heart, action on your mind and be happy. Life’s too short and fragile.