Hope in Hell

What is it about the start of the new year that fills everyone with hope?

Is it a new canvas to paint on? A brand new set of 365 days presented to everyone on a platter? The possibility that the road could lead to a more verdant path filled with birds trilling away, a lush undergrowth, sunlight filtering through the leaves of large, tall trees. A road that leads away from the monsters that have tried their best to level us to the ground. I think we use hope and imagination to divert us from the reality that exists towards a future that is infinitely better and promising. We create lists of resolutions to help us on this new path that we promise to forge for ourselves. The eagerness to find a way out of the rut we find ourselves in or to sustain the trajectory of happiness and success that we enjoy and fear losing … a new year gives us the reliable delusion of opportunity.

It is said that human beings can adapt to anything over a period of time. Viktor Frankl so aptly put it, ‘When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.’ 2020 onwards has shown us the truth of this statement. As we found ourselves stuck in a time warp, trapped in our homes, we were forced to find meaning that would make this time bearable. There was a sudden explosion of home caterers and chefs; podcast influencers; home made films and so much more. Art was rediscovered and reimagined through NFTs. Technology became the means to travel out of our islands of monotony and discover the vibrant and the new. Priorities shifted. Connections grew in importance. Jobs ceased to be the only means of earning and the desire to live a more fulfilling and meaningful life were sought. In a world that became suddenly and consistently fraught with risk we realised we had little to lose and far more to save. The respect for our home (those privileged enough to live in one) and the earth grew and became profoundly important. Conversations soon began to change. We found ourselves struggling through periods of hopelessness, despair, loss and confusion desperately looking for a foothold to emerge whole on the other side.

Many of us could search for meaning in our lives while understanding and appreciating the luxury we had to do so. Many more simply struggle to survive. A world that has become so fractured and violent belies the hope we have for a better world but if history is anything to go by, this too will change and we can only pray that all the sacrifice would have been worth it.

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