Hope Is How We Survive

Because I am a lover of words, I sometimes get a single word trapped in my head on a loop. The word won’t leave me until I exhaustively research it, wringing out every last bit of meaning, applying the word to my life, drinking the word up like a big glass of water. Only after I burn the word up, does it leave my head.

The other night I found myself sitting on my couch crying over some stupid internet video about a birth announcement. Even my dog got freaked out by the whole scene and chose to be in his crate rather than on the couch with me. I asked myself, how did I get here?

And then word ‘hope’ appeared in my head and started nesting. Why had this word come to me so vividly?

hopeAfter some time and staring into space, I realized that it had come to me then because I still have hope that love exists, still have hope that there are people out there who aren’t afraid of feeling, aren’t afraid of expressing themselves in warm and genuine ways. It wasn’t really the pregnancy announcement itself that got me, but the idea that there is much love left in the world. An overflowing cup I’d like to drink from again one day.

So I looked up the definition of hope and then I fell down the rabbit hole.

Merriam-Webster defines ‘hope’ in the way I think most of us do: “To cherish a desire with anticipation.” Think of those Obama posters from his first campaign. Had his supporters not cherished the desire of electing him to presidency with much anticipation? Before you think too much about that I have to say about hope, ponder for a second how you use the word hope in your daily life. My guess is, if you’re like me, is that you use hope as as synonym for “wish”.

“I hope the subway isn’t late.” “I hope there’s free pizza.” “I hope he texts me back.”

I haven’t really ever put enough weight into the word until Merriam’s second definition got to me. Hope can also be defined as ‘trust.’

“I trust the subway isn’t late.” “I trust there’s free pizza.” “I trust he will text me back.”

Not only does that little change make you sound fancier (it really does) but instead of making a wish for something, you are BELIEVING and trusting in that something. Pretty powerful, right?

I also stumbled upon Snyder’s Hope Theory. Created by the positive psychologist, Rick Snyder. (I pulled the basic info from mindtools.com but there are lots of websites and resources you can pull this information from. You can search for his articles on Google as well.)hope3

From Mind Tools: “Snyder characterized hopeful thinkers as people who are able to establish clear goals, imagine multiple workable pathways toward those goals, and persevere, even when obstacles get in their way.” Goals. Pathways to those goals. And the agency to believe in your own ability to achieve these goals. Snyder even went as far as to develop a scale to measure how hopeful you are.

I never considered hope as being measurable. I also didn’t think of it as human survival tactic but according to Snyder, this is exactly what hope is. A way for humans to reach goals, to thrive, and to continue to push forward when things are really bleak.

Hope is what helps us to succeed.

It’s not surprising then that I’m not completely devoid of hope, I just occasionally have difficulty finding it. Or rather, wanting to find it. It can be hard because you know you have to move forward, and you will, but standing still sounds so much better.

In the end I have hope and trust for a lot of things. I hope to find what makes me happy in this life. I trust that there is good out there. I hope to love again. I trust that I can do this… despite being the type of person that cries because of a silly Internet video.


My Mind is a Mess: Passion Planner Review

One night I was visiting my best friend Kate at her apartment and in between sips of wine and bites of cheese (or gulps and hunks) she turned my attention to her brand new Passion Planner. Wow, I thought, I need one of these.

My whole life I’ve wanted to design a planner that functions how my brain functions– which is million different things all happening at once. Passion Planner is almost perfect. (I still want to design the ultimate planner one day. It’s one of my super nerdy life goals.) My only challenge is that it’s broken down by time slots which is incredibly hard for me to stick too but otherwise, I love the layout.

I’ve been using my Compact version for about 4 weeks now. And each week I get better at utilizing it. I let it help me form my week instead of jamming my week into it. I’ve surrendered to the planner a little bit and it seems to be going well. I stole the below image direct from the Passion Planner website because it’s going to do a MUCH better job of explaining how it works:

PP Breakdown

And all of those things get incorporated into your weekly pages. I know what you’re thinking: HOW?! HOW DO THEY GET INCORPORATED? It seems like a lot. Here are some sample pages from mine. Note: I don’t color in for the time I spend at work. I probably should but it scares me to see how much time I actually spend there. Maybe this week I’ll give it a whirl.

Example Week
I’m trying to teach myself to color code so certain things jump out to me. Yellow is my “Personal Life” color… it makes me happy!
example week 2
This was taken on Sunday of this week. I still had more to fill in and you can see my notes page is pretty open. That changes pretty quick.

I’m sure some people are a little tidier with theirs but I do my best… I’m only human. I enjoy seeing everything that I have to do on one open page instead of having to flip around and see what my week looks like. It’s also nice that there are sections on top of each day that say “Today’s Focus”, I use this to keep the “OMG A NEW PROJECT” part of myself toned down.

One of my favorite features of the planner is all of the Goal Setting material in the front of it. Before you even get to any specific months or days, you are guided through a series of exercises to get some awesome goals lined up for the next 3 months, next year and rest of your life! It’s a great way to keep your goals and passions (hehe) up front while you are toiling away on other things.

As for a mistake I made with it, I wish I had ordered the 8 1/2 x 11 sized version. When I ordered, it seemed like a huge pain in the ass to lug around but now that I am using the smaller size, I realize that I could have used the extra space. Especially because I have goofy handwriting. I think next year I’ll try the larger version and see how that goes.

So far so good with this planner and I am a pretty scattered person. This keeps everything I am constantly thinking about in one place. I’m not the most focused, but this has been helping. I strongly suggest checking them out! And, oh yeah, if you can’t afford the bound version, Passion Planner has PDF versions of the planner pages that you can print out and use. Amazing!