Sarah-ious Discussions: Here’s to hoping

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Sarah Firdaus

There’s nothing better than this moment: knowing that although today is ending where I am, it’s already tomorrow somewhere else. What represents hope more than the beginning of a new day?

I’ve noticed that when a part of me is despairing, the other part is holding on to hope. I suspect that hope forces most of us to look forward. This year, while we lived our lives through flat phone screens, scheduling catch-up calls, Netflix movie nights and celebrating birthday parties over Zoom, we were busy hoping.

When we missed experiencing emotions and ideas being exchanged in a shared space, when we were sitting in dark unknown, quietly watching our plans for the year being ripped apart, our hope was still intact.

Even when I drown in a sea of uncertainty and confusion, hope arrives in the form of a “what if,” an anchor that prevents me from drifting into decay. Hope is forever useful because it leaves us continually searching, and this curiosity, in a way, protects us from demons that arrive with despair.

And I think the word hope explains itself. It’s an invitation to experience “a preview of life’s coming attractions.” The letters slowly push us into a hidden pool of anticipation and positivity.

There we are, our existence dripping with spontaneity and courage, and most of all, best of all, love. Because when we hope for something better for ourselves, aren’t we expressing love for ourselves? My theory is: when we give ourselves radical permission to hope, we allow ourselves to live freely.

Like hope, love is involuntary, an invitation to a new, inexplicable feeling. Hope and love are connected; they are spheres of influence that intersect, both being found in the unlikeliest of places.

I asked some friends to tell me about what keeps them hopeful, and I found myself in conversations about religion and God. One friend talked with me for an hour about her house, another about his future; countless people told me that hope is their dogs, hope is being happy with family, hope is life, the election, “romanticizing the simple moments in life,” “a day when things are better.” And from all of this, I realized that hope is.

It’s just there, and it always has been, a lover that we take advantage of when we’re despairing but never wholly pay attention to. Hope is a wizard who waves his wand and makes the impossible seem possible, a present force that brings us to our imagined future.

To me, hopeful people are bright lights. They’re people who live life with untouchable certainty, people who never look back. These people have immeasurable patience; they are always chapters ahead in the books of their lives. And they teach everyone else to take risks, search for happiness, and jump in puddles of sadness instead of dwelling in them.

I know when I’m hoping, I’m not making sense to anyone else. I’m too ambitious; I’m overly optimistic, I’m overthinking, intense, and struggling. And from all of this, I gather that hope is who we are.

So here’s to accepting ourselves, here’s to being misunderstood, here’s to hoping.