A few days ago a man came into my office. I had met him before, but this day he looked beaten down. I didn't remember much about him (I had met him just once before and only very briefly), but I did remember he was a bit more "up" the last time. My natural tendency is to want to help people, but I am loathe to impose my notion of how to live life onto others. As he told me in general terms that life was not good for him or his family right now I felt rather at a loss. I couldn't fix whatever was wrong; I could only offer a friendly smile and wish him well. Just to clarify, he had not come to my office for help, but I found out more years ago than I can remember that I seem to be one of those people that others confide in. People tell me their secrets. I don't know why, but I do my best to honor them even if they don't ask me not to tell. Sometimes we just need someone to listen, not someone to offer up answers.
After the man had left my office I found myself recalling the encounter several times. I wished I had more time to share how life had been particularly hard for my family and me for several years and how I had finally come to my own realization that despairing about it only magnified the worst parts and left me precious little time to see anything good.
More and more I try to focus on the more positive side of life. I recognized something about myself years ago...I need time to "fall apart". Then after a time of tears or dread I can formulate a plan of action. The initial reaction to something unpleasant of despair gives me the opportunity to flush the nasty feelings so I can move on to something more productive.
I look for solutions to my situation and if one if not readily apparent, I focus on the good things in my life. One word I have recently focused on is 'hope'. Hope is good, but if you want something to change 'hoping' is sometimes just not enough! I am reexamining how I use the word and looking for something that describes more how I want to live my life. When I say 'hopefully' I feel I am putting to much emphasis on something I can't control and less on what I can really do about it.
So, back to the man who came into my office. I will not judge his situation, but thank him for helping me to see a new way of looking at things...with hope, but not hopefully!
The Hopeful Romantic