How to Stay Hopeful in Difficult Times, like Covid.

What is about seeing a place I know I shouldn’t be that makes me want to go there? I imagine this as the opening line to the book that I may never get around to write. The one where I expose my every weakness page after page.  Hoping that somehow my words will reach someone differently you know like in that indescribable sort of way. Yet I often wonder if it is these places to which I’ve been told I probably shouldn’t go that is the reason for getting me closer to the place I need to be.

Standing there in the doorway of my bedroom is my mother, she’s crying. I’m nervous for you, she’s telling me on the night before I’m supposed to leave. I know but everything is going to be fine and trust me I know what I’m doing. Still, I didn’t know if it were her or me that I was trying more to convince.

I’d been trying for almost a year to get back to Chicago, I thought about it at least two times every day once when I woke up and then again right before going to bed. I’m embarrassed to admit I thought about what it would be like having a life with him. just as much. I know I can make this work I repeated every which way I could think of.  If it is important to me, I’ll find a way. And against all warnings, I did.

Covid has taken and taught me a lot. This difficult moment we’re in is certainly testing our will and ways of giving in. No one could have warned me about Covid-19, about the job I’d lose that I had just relocated to Chicago for, the anxiety I’d feel in losing some identity of home when my mom finally sold our house, or the freedom I’d feel stripped of after my car got stolen. All these things were a part of normalcy for me and they were quickly taken away in the span of a year. But there are also a few things this has given back to me, a few things I’ve learned that regardless of what comes my way, regardless of what devastation’s, illness or misfortunes I may face, I just like the rest of we, will always have to keep hope for.

  1. Deep Sense of Connection to Friends or Family.

Failures are what life has to remind us of who our cheerleaders are in life. The people who will encourage us even if we’ve run the ball 20 yards down the field, in the wrong direction. The ones who remind us what we’re good at, what makes us unique, the ones who remind you where you said you were going before you seem to have lost your way. These are the kind of conversations that make me feel alive. It’s the “oh crap it’s already 2 a.m.” after a bottle of wine kind of nights with my mom. Or the belly aches from the laughter with an old friend and thinking man it’s been too long since we’ve last seen each other. In talking about how crazy and difficult life has been I’ve had found this beautiful deep connection with the people I know will always remain by my side.

2. A Jolting Reminder of Your Purpose & Passion

Okay okay you caught me I’m like always talking about purpose and passion, but it’s because I truly believe that happiness in life comes down to these two things. Think of a time when you felt really low, really depressed or just in a “bad spot” that made you feel some sort of suffering, don’t we seem to describe these moments as ones where we felt lost? Not sure what our purpose was or what we were even doing or supposed to do. Just stuck. This free time has pushed me back into the hobbies and things I used to love doing that I let get away from me. Without them I realize how empty I feel. So, I started creating again, I started painting. I took what little money I had saved and bought a laptop to start writing again and to finally pursue working as a freelancer…something I never thought I’d have the courage to do, but when you’re only option you feel you have left is to try, well you try. I’m not exactly “winning” but man making my own schedule and seeing the efforts I’m willing to go to in order to succeed has been liberating.

3. Learning to Defend and Honor, Me.

This one has taken me quite a while and I’m assuming it will be one lesson that challenges me for the rest of my life. I’ve spent the majority of my life having people tell me who I am. Allowing others to decide for me who I was going to be. In high school it caused a rebellious strike in me that I’m sure my parents never understood. On my own in college was where I finally understood what it meant for me to be able to be myself, it was everything. And it was where I vowed to never let that escape me. Now in my present day I realize how my art of learning to defend myself has come up in ways where it no longer needed to be. In relationships it showed up when I always seemed to have a point to make that no one was arguing. I ran away from situations that were opposite of a story I long defended about myself. And when it came to honor I never held it towards me. This time in my life I’m learning something very important about being defensive and having something worth defending. I’ve spent a lot of time being defensive and not nearly enough time cultivating something worth defending and that, well that is on me. But as I see myself grow, as I visit places or people I feel are no longer a part of me I see the ways in which I’m able to grow, what I’m willing to defend and what matters in regards to my own honor.

Honorably with Hope,

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