At age fifty-two, I often feel hopeless about being able to get back into shape. I used to love to run. For thirty years, I ran because it altered my mood and lightened the dysthmia that snaked its way into my mind. I ran off frustrations and anger and sweated out “the stink” as my Dad used to call it. Now my legs are weaker and I sit a lot because of my work, and running is harder. Every part of my body is migrating south and none of it wants to cooperate in moving back up north. Accepting our shifting bodies comes with age and that acceptance is good. But I have seen some friends become hopeless (if that is not too strong a word) about feeling healthy and strong again. Sure, my muscles are shrinking, but since I used to love running, I decided to start up again. I won’t ever have my past strength, but who cares? Hope tells me to move ahead and have fun with what I have.
My friends have expressed hopeless feelings about their marriages, their jobs or their finances. Are these really hopeless? I don’t know, but I doubt it. In most situations, we can grab on to hope and change our situations. We can lean on our own abilities and corral a bit of chutzpah so that we can do what is necessary to change our circumstances. We can be the one to change things, or we can rely on life, God, or the laws of nature to take hold and implement changes? After all, one thing that age has taught us is that things never stay as they are. Change in the near and distant future is part of life, regardless of what we do.
What has made you feel hopeless lately? How can you grab on to hope and change your situation? What’s holding you back?