In Spanish, the terms ‘to hope’ and ‘to wait’ are embodied by the same word: esperar. Distinction can only be made through context clues, and often, there is no distinction at all, much to the chagrin of many a Spanish student.

I’m a stickler for linguistic precision, and this little quirk has always irritated me. To me, ‘hope’ implies ‘desire’ as in, “I want this to happen; it may or may not”and ‘wait’ implies ‘expectation’, as in, “This has not happened, but I’m quite sure it will in the near future”. So this vague, imprecise term ‘esperar’ sends me into a geek-tastic mini-meltdown:
“Gaaah!!! They’re two completely different concepts!!!! Dammit!!!” *grumblegrumble*

But now, all semantic issues aside, I’m beginning to realize that maybe those loco Spaniards are on to something. I think my very life is the embodiment of the term ‘esperar’.

At some point in my life, I woke up in the morning , looked out my window, and realized that everything would turn out okay. And I think that the same thing happened the next day. Maybe the day after that too. Or perhaps it skipped a day; one morning, I woke up with an intense hatred of everyone and everything and an intense craving for a Dove Dark Chocolate Bar. Mmm.

The point is, this has been my modus operandi for some time. I’m so ridiculously optimistic, sometimes I make myself sick. Maybe examples are needed, for clarity’s sake. In my mind:

* funerals = opportunities to share memories with those loved ones that are still living

* cold, shitty weather = opportunities to engage in warmth-creating activities such as wearing cute and cozy winter coats/scarves/mittens, drinking hot cocoa (with marshmallows, please and thank you!), and snuggling with your boo under the covers

* lost/stolen property = one less material possession to worry about keeping track of and/or an opportunity to get something better

* failing at something, anything! = opportunity to learn and grow and perhaps try again later, if Life allows you the privilege to do so.

The list goes on and on. And this isn’t some new-age psychobabble, this is really how I think most of the time. No joke. Pretty gross, I know. This is not to say, however, that my life is not without its fair share of anxiety and pain. Waiting can make the heart grow weary. I get impatient. Sometimes I fall into a fatalistic funk (again, hating everyone and everything, still craving chocolate). Sometimes it lasts for a few minutes, sometimes a few weeks. But it only takes something small — a random song, a funny joke, a warm hug, a random smile from a stranger, an aptly timed word of encouragement from a friend– to remind me (or delude me!) again.

This strange hope that I have, it’s not some vague, abstract belief, it’s not some passive, pie-in-the-sky wish; it’s what I know, and I live my life accordingly. I’m not just wistfully hoping that things turn out okay, I’m simply waiting for all the complex folds in the tapestry of my life to unfurl and display themselves beautifully.

Of course, the one fatal flaw in this manner of thinking is that it can lead to complacency. Too often I’ve found myself falling into the mind-trap of, “If I’ve already won the war, why should I fight anything or anyone?”, instead of, “If I’ve already won the war, why should I fear anything or anyone?” Why should I try vs. why shouldn’t I try.

Maybe I am making sense to you. Maybe I sound like a hokey motivational speaker.


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