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I’m not one for resolutions. In fact, I really hate them. Every year we find ourselves pressured to set some profound and life-changing goal. And even though we’ve never been able to achieve it up to this point, because the calendar now says January, we seem to think this time will be different.

And if and when we find out it’s not different then we beat ourselves up for failing.

Yeah, no. Not into it. Thank you, next.

But one of the things I can get behind is having a word or motto to take with me through the year. Something to encourage me when I’m struggling and to remind me of what’s possible. Something to think about with every risk I take or tough decision that needs to be made.

For me that word for 2021 is HOPE.

Hope is the fundamental basis for pretty much everything. It gives us a reason to keep going. It’s a light in the darkness. And it doesn’t let you down.

That’s not to say that everything you hope for will come true. I think if 2020 has showed us all anything it’s that life usually does not go according to plan. And no matter how much you try to avoid it, challenging times will come.

Hope doesn’t try to tell you otherwise. And hope does not tell you to just think positive. That’s called false hope.

But real hope does give you a reason to keep going. Even when you don’t know specifically what you are wishing for, even the smallest thread of hope can help you realize that it will get better. Hope can’t tell you when and how, but it has the power to reassure you that you won’t always feel like this.

The last 18 months have been among the toughest of my life, from losing my father-in-law and my father five months apart, to a global pandemic, to three failed rounds of IVF, to saying goodbye to my childhood home and everything it represented for my family. But there is one thing of which I’ve kept trying to remind myself when everything felt impossible: this feeling is only temporary.  

That’s right, feelings are temporary. Yes, they’re strong and emotional and all-consuming in the moment. But that moment is fleeting. You will not feel like this forever. I can’t tell you when it will get better or how it will improve but I can promise you that whatever you are feeling, it will change.

And that is hope.

Hope lets us know we have a chance. Hope is also what drives us to create and build. To love and learn. To find reasons to keep going.

No, 2021 will not be perfect. It won’t be filled with “good vibes only” or a never-ending supply of rainbows and lollipops. It’s going to be hard. We have no idea when we’ll be able to begin any of post-pandemic life or what that life will look like. There is still SO much that must be done to further social justice and equality. And politically we are more polarized than ever before.

On top of all of that there are the unique personal challenges and losses we will all face.

This won’t be easy. But accepting that is also a part of being hopeful. It’s taking an honest look at the realities of being a human being and knowing there is always the possibility of something better.

This feeling is temporary. Hope will see to that.  

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