“Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torment of man” – Friedrich Nietzsche
I have a love/hate relationship with Hope. Hope tucks me in at night. Hope makes the days go by faster. Hope turns my pain into promise. But over time, Hope and I have had to reach an agreement. You see, I have abused Hope…or perhaps Hope has abused me. If I’m not careful, Hope is a handy escape that keeps me from living fully in the present. Future possibilities are much more fun than present redundancies when Hope is around.
Hope can stall significant action. Hope keeps you thinking that WHEN your future happens, things will be better. WHEN you meet the man or woman of your dreams, you’ll take that African safari. You’ll learn how to salsa dance. You’ll finally be able to buy that house on your vision board. WHEN you meet your one true love, you’ll have children.
That’s an awful lot of control you’re handing over to Hope. Because meeting someone, the right someone, is entirely out of your hands. And Hope doesn’t have the power to make it happen…Hope only has the power to keep you dangling…
What if…stay with me now…you gave up Hope? What if you stopped envisioning life with your future love, and started envisioning a life lived alone? You want to go to Africa? Get a second job, save some money and buy a Groupon! You want to salsa dance? I guarantee there’s a $5 intro class within a couple miles of your home. You want money? Be brilliant, be productive, and take financial control of your life. You want to have kids? Turkey baste that shit!
How would you start living your life differently now, if you knew the future was NEVER GOING TO BE DIFFERENT. If you gave up waiting for someone to enter your life, and instead focused on the things you actually have control over…your life as you are living it RIGHT NOW. That man may never round the corner. And then you’re fifty. And you never had a child. Because Hope kept you waiting…
If there are things you simply cannot imagine doing alone (like parenting) then start envisioning an alternate path. Perhaps you travel around the world. Maybe you invest your time in a meaningful career. But your life…your precious life…does not depend on another soul finding you. You’ve already got everything you need…you’ve got yourself.
Do you remember the movie Something’s Gotta Give? Dianne Keaton plays a successful playwright with a dynamite career, a daughter who loves her, and an ex-husband for whom she harbors no ill-will. After she has sex for the first time with Jack Nicholson’s character, she starts crying (with surprise) and says, “I really thought I was… …sort of closed up for business.” Not only does she have sex with Jack, but a much younger man—and not just any young man but one that is Keanu Reeves hot—falls madly in love with her and proposes. She gets her pick of men in her 60s!
Now…did she spend the twenty years prior rendezvousing with Hope? Did she say, WHEN my man comes along things will be different and I’ll finally write a Pulitzer Prize-winning play, buy a house in the Hamptons, and travel? Hell no she didn’t!
Living a life without Hope, does not mean living a life of Despair. Letting go of Hope is one of the most uplifting experiences you’ll ever have. It just means accepting your life as it is now. Changing the parts of your life you can no longer tolerate. Working towards a future that you actually have control over…one that’s not dependent upon meeting that special someone. And not putting your desires, your needs, your future on hold…for anyone…no matter how fabulous Hope makes your someone seem. Chances are he/she will sneak up on you…some day…perhaps tomorrow, or possibly 10 years from now…but you’ll stop counting the days in between and start living them as soon as you blow Hope a sweet kiss goodbye.