New Year’s Eve:
A very emotionally conflictive time for most people, filled with joy, nostalgia, a tinge of expectancy, but most of all uncertainty of what’s to come. That’s part of the beauty of it all. As we close a chapter in our lives, despite the ups and downs it had, we automatically get to start another one. Although I must admit, when they ask me to write about something as subjective as hope, I can’t help but wonder what any of us think hope really is.
And let me tell you, I got to some pretty weird conclusions.
For some of us, hope is that beautiful sensation that sparks in the pit of our stomach when we get some exciting news of what’s to come, or that odd feeling of reassurance when something bad happens but our hearts convince us there will come better times…. For others hope comes in the shape of a family member who has been away for way too long and finally comes back home, or that beautiful pet of ours that looks us in the eye with a love bigger than what we could possibly ever understand. And just for some other people out there, it’s that joyous feeling when our doorbell rings and the pizza delivery person is standing right outside our door.
It could also come in the shape of warm sun rays, peeking through the horizon early in the morning, which stretch out as a reminder that the dark night sky is only temporary—that’s if you were looking for something a bit more poetic, of course.
So, I guess you could say hope is a lot of things.
For me, personally, though, hope is everywhere.
The world isn’t a pretty place. This platform is supposed to empower people all over the world, to show them their voices can be heard, and that’s perfectly all right—we need that lately, we need to hear what other people have to say—but we can’t paint a perfect canvas and sell it as if it were the real world out there. There are bad people, horrible things happening while some of us drink wine with our families tonight. And the problem is not so much that it’s happening—I know what you’re thinking, it shouldn’t happen in the first place, but bear with me—the problem is we’re doing nothing about it.
And that’s where hope comes in.
When I say hope is everywhere, I literally mean that each one of our actions can be someone else’s hope. Women this year have come far to prove that despite everything we’ve gone through, there are still thousands of voices that need to be heard. Thousands of untold stories that will echo and leave a mark as this year stretches to the final, ending mark.
I remember when I was little, I used to feel bad for the old year when the clock struck midnight. Like everyone would remember it only for the things it gave and not for what it left to build after. And that’s one of the biggest problems when people look for hope—they search the wrong places. It’s not about the awful things 2018 left us, but of the things that it allowed us to build in 2019.
I like to think about years now as pieces of a work in progress. All of them add a little work for the building of justice and equality. Some of them use the wrong materials and even cause little pieces of the building to fall, so we have to take more time and build them back up, but there’s always a part of it that remains not only intact but sturdy enough so that new levels and additions can be built atop.
And that’s the funny thing about having hope.
It’s okay that people want to hear emotional speeches about empowered women seeking for justice, but I honestly believe that, from time to time, we should also talk about empowered people who work together to give each other hope.
One of my favorite book quotes of all time—and yes, forgive me for being so extra—is from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series; specifically, The Prisoner of Azkaban. Albus Dumbledore says the following line:
"Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."
We must remind ourselves to turn on our lights—not only for us, but because it might just be enough for someone else to find their way in the dark.
With only five more hours before my clock strikes midnight, I wanted to write something about the kind of hope I wish people would have this upcoming year. Empathy, friendship, the will to help other people…to show them that even if the world tries to shut them out or hurt them in any way, there’s nothing truly impossible if you set your mind to beat it.
Yes, women have achieved a lot this year, we’ve shown the world that it will take a lot more than that to beat the noise we’ve managed to make, but I really wish we could also fight for every person who feels hopeless. Not only women but children, men, and everyone who feels a bit out of place in the world.
To those who are forced to stay in dark, cold places at the borders, away from their families, because we believe we really do have the right to isolate people out of our countries in the most inhumane ways possible.
To those who have gone through an insufferable amount of pain and only have that small blanket they managed to buy with the pennies they’ve been saving for well over a month.
To those who only have the memory of their family in an empty living room far from home.
To those who cry themselves to sleep or shed a tear or two when no one’s looking.
To those who wake up to bombs flashing in the sky instead of shooting stars.
To those who would only wish for a moment of silence in the loud cries of helpless countries.
To every single person that just does not find the reason to keep on living in a world like the one we’ve constructed over time…
I hope we can all fight for them.
I really wish people realized once and for all that hope is more than the expectancy of things to get better. It’s more than those tiny butterflies that show up in your stomach: it’s about knowing that yes, better times will come, but we need to work hard to get to them.
Like J. R. R. Tolkien said: there is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.
We need to make sure that each year continues to build that beautiful building, and the closer we get to its final pillar, the closer we open our eyes to a world where we’re all equal and all our voices can be heard.
After all, all it takes is someone willing to listen.
Happy New Year, everyone, and let’s make this upcoming year the best we’ve ever had.