Monday, 6 June 2022

Find three reasons

The monthly calendar that is sent to me by a friend each month was titled Meaningful May for the month of May. Each day's block has a few words that remind, nudge or guide you towards more meaningfulness - like "Focus on what you can do rather than what you can't" or "Listen to a favourite piece of music and remember what it means to you".

For Tuesday, 31 May 2022, the entry reads, "Find three reasons to be hopeful about the future".

Know what? I'm stumped. 

By any standard, I have a good life. I live in a great location, I have friends and family, I've got amazing dogs, I run my own business (through ups and downs and challenges) but I am not very hopeful about the future. Or my future.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), "having hope is having an expectation that something good will happen in the future or that something bad won't happen". 

Man, I'm the girl on the couch, holding a taser, waiting for the boogeyman to burst through the door.

There are a number of issues that my mind turns over regularly, 

I'm not hopeful for the environment, marine life, sustainability, reducing deforestation and halting the melting of Greenland and Antarctica. 

I'm not hopeful for the millions of school children in South Africa whose only meals are served by their schools. I'm not hopeful that they will have the homes, upbringing, education or jobs that they should have. 

I'm not hopeful that the hundreds of thousands of young people who have left school or tertiary education will find work. Or that those older people, who had jobs and lost them because the business that they worked for haven't survived, will be able to find jobs to support their families.

I'm not hopeful that there will be, in my lifetime, a decrease in the current rising number of teenagers with serious behavioural and mental health issues; and I'm less hopeful that there will be sufficient professional help for them - as well as for adults with mental health issues. 

I'm not hopeful that prices of fuel and the knock-on increases in food, transport and goods costs will come down and that earning potential goes up. There are so very many people on the edge; too many will fall over. This is not just a 'tightening of belts'. This is serious.

I'm not hopeful that South Africa can kick the rot of corruption and pocket lining at the expense of its people as well as the lack of maintenance and infrastructure development, and the wrong people in the wrong positions because of their political affiliations instead of their experience and knowledge.

An article I read online about being hopeful says, "Being hopeful relies partly on having a sense of control; it’s the idea that you can exert an influence on the world around you and that the actions you take can have positive consequences in your life."

I think that this is part of the problem: in all of these things I've mentioned above, as well as many work challenges, I have no sense of control. 

I can compost, but I can't save the Amazon. 

I can stop using plastic shopping bags and clingwrap, but I can't force those around me to change their behaviours. 

I can pick up litter daily on trails, but I can't get the people to stop throwing their wrappers and bottles on the trails.

I can help a lady to get to study for a course to do a job she will love, but I can't give her a job that will make all the difference to her household. 

And I can't give jobs to the 80-something mostly completely unqualified young people that applied when I advertised a position last year. These people are unlikely to get jobs anywhere.

We can't make kayaks and I can't fulfill orders if we don't have plastic.

I drew up a YOLO ad last night to promote the other products that I have brought in - all of them being long-lasting, reusable alternatives to single-use items. 

YOLO is indeed an acronym for You Only Live Once. I was thinking of a tagline of sorts like, "You only live once. Live a good life".

While I have not been able to think of three reasons to be hopeful about the future, I can still live a good life where my actions are inline with my values and expectations for how I'd like the world to be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So well writen and true for many of us. For similar reasons I hear myself saying no to a plastic bag. Saving the world 1 bag at a time. Helping a young girl with her studies. Never done as much printing in my life. So now we save a tree. USB stick and a recycled PC. What more can the ordinary people in the world do? It does give me hope that perhaps one of these small actions will eventually make a difference some where, some time, to some one.