“I Feel Like This is Going to be a Great Year”
“Start of a New Decade”
I am guilty as so many others of uttering statements like those above as 2020 approached. For whatever reason, the end of a decade and the start of the 20’s just seemed like a great opportunity to make the most of the upcoming year. I was hoping to speak it into existence but as I’ve written before “Man Plans and God Laughs”.
There is no need to recap why those predictions didn’t come true in 2020. We all lived it. Nonetheless, it is worth explaining that I am hopeful for 2021 and that 2020 taught me a valuable lesson in hope.
At some point, I had to accept that my early visions for the year weren’t going to manifest and begin the work necessary to survive 2020. The same work described by Pi as he attempts to survive a shipwreck in the novel “The Life of Pi”
“I had to stop hoping so much that a ship would rescue me. I should not count on outside help. Survival had to start with me. In my experience, a castaway’s worst mistake is to hope too much and do too little. Survival starts by paying attention to what is close at hand and immediate. To look out with idle hope is tantamount to dreaming one’s life away.” (p.212)
Pi is describing how the work necessary to survive the shipwreck would have never been done if he continued hoping a ship was coming to rescue him. He had to let that hope go and start searching for the much-needed necessities of food and water.
Full disclaimer, letting go of hope is a painful process. I’m sure Pi had a full-out breakdown and dealt with some severe depression as he let go of the hope of being rescued. Likewise, I like many others, had some pretty difficult moments while letting go of my hopes for 2020. However, I began to understand that it had to be done to complete the work needed to survive.
What work? Learning how to run a zoom classroom, figuring out how to social distance-sports practices, staying safe, creating meaningful family/social interactions, finding hobbies to survive quarantine, creating ways to scratch my travel itch, etc, etc.
As I did those things, and let go of my original hopes for 2020, I began to hope for new things. I hoped for a vaccine, hoped for the day I could host a large family gathering, hoped for regular sports seasons, hoped for the safety of friends and family, hoped I wouldn’t die as I explored waterways in my new Kayak, and now I’m hoping that 2021 is going to be a great year.
Am I setting myself up for another letdown? Possibly! The siege of the Capitol doesn’t have the year off to a great start. However, the alternative is to not hope or dream for anything, and that is a miserable existence.
The key to hope I’m learning is to naturally allow it to die and be born again. The natural order of life applies to hope too. Once something dies, something new can be born. Once one hope dies, another hope can be born. With that being said……. Let’s Go 2021!!!!