Monday, January 14, 2019

Hopeful Expectation

In 2018, I picked a word of the year out of sheer peer pressure, and then promptly forgot it about 5 minutes later. I'm pretty sure that's not how it's supposed to work. 

This year, the word picked me. Or two words, actually. Because apparently I'm consistent in my need to do things in multiples. 

I was sitting on an airplane, heading toward Ecuador, when the phrase "hopeful expectation" leaped off of the page in my book and hit me square between the eyes. I read the paragraph again. I wasn't looking for any significant, life-altering concepts...I mean, I was reading one of my just-for-fun books, after all. I tried to keep going in the fiction story that I was reading, but I kept getting pulled back to the same paragraph. I read it a third time. I finally reached for my phone, typed in the brief phrase, hit "send" on the text message to myself, and then went back to my book.

It's almost two months later, and that phrase has popped up in my head so many times....along with the rueful knowledge that I can't for the life of me remember exactly which book I was reading at the time. (I'm blaming my lack of memory there on the trauma of our return trip from Ecuador).

Unfortunately, I have a tendency to not look toward the future with hopeful expectation. My approach seems to be much more of a "I hope I duck fast enough to avoid whatever is going to get thrown at me" strategy. So when I read about having a hopeful expectation for the future, I realized that those two words pretty much summed up what I have been missing in life.

I spent the majority of 2018 in a pretty bad funk. I had a hard time looking to the future for anything much other than the required grocery/meal list that my hooligans rely on in order to magically be fed each night. At one point, I ended up in my closet sobbing because I just didn't have anything left to give to any member of my family, my business, or my friends. It was a hard year on so many different levels, and one that I'm quite glad is over. I need a fresh start. 

But it doesn't really make any difference if the fresh start comes and the hopeful expectation part is left out of the picture. 

So I don't have a word this year. I have two. I *need* two. I need the word hope because it reminds me that even on my hardest days, the game isn't over until it's over. No matter what anyone says or doesn't say. No matter how I feel. The game isn't over yet. I need the word expectation because it's a word that gives movement and force to the phrase. It pushes me to keep my face turned up instead of my eyes buried in the dirt around my shoes. 

Good things are coming this year. It's not about ducking fast enough to avoid the hard and scary stuff. It's not about trying to numb everything to avoid the emotional pain that sometimes accompanies life. It's not about racing through the days, thinking that maybe tomorrow might be better.

I'm choosing to live life in 2019, filled with hopeful expectation. Seems a heck of a lot easier than the way I did it in 2018. And if that means picking two words this year instead of one, then I'm cool with going rogue. In fact, expect a little more rogue-ness going forward. After all, hope does that to a person.

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