Don’t give up on your hopes and dreams

Christmas often is referred to as the Season of Perpetual Hope.

Hope can mean a lot of different things to people. In many ways, it was what helps to drive us forward. Our hopes can motivate us as we work toward the goals we set for life.

Among the definitions of “hope,” according to Merriam-Webster are “a desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment,” and “something desired.”

As we grow older, the hopes we have, or even how we look at hope, can change dramatically. As a youth, you may hope you get that cool, new toy for Christmas. You may hope you get picked for a particular youth sports team.

As adults, we often have less materialistic hopes, looking more toward certain experiences or objectives to help us move forward in our lives.

We may hope a job interview goes well. We hope a family member is able to overcome a medical condition. We hope that a special someone is interested in exploring growth in your relationship with them. We hope for the opportunity to go on that trip of a lifetime.

We also learn we can’t get what we want just by hoping. It takes a great deal of work to get anything. You may have to put in some extra hours at work to get the money for that trip. You must learn the appropriate skills for that dream job. You have to be willing to make the effort to keep any relationship strong.

It’s all part of life. You set goals of what you would like to do, or want to happen. You figure out what is needed to reach them, and you put in the work to get there. Hope keeps you going. It prevents you from giving up.

Unfortunately, life has more than its share of disappointments to deal with.

You may not get that job you want. Something happens that prevents you from going on that long-planned trip. That special someone finds someone else.

It can hurt to have your hopes dashed like that. It may even convince you to stop working to reach any of your goals. Why bother trying to get to those things that make you happy or add to your life, after all, if there’s a chance it won’t happen.

Nothing in life is ever certain. You may be forced to work extra hours and miss a family event. You might end up with a life-altering injury. You may lose your job. You’re going to have your heart broken. Obstacles are going to be thrown in your way.

Bad things happen.

I’ve certainly had my share of moments which have made me just want to pack it in. At times, it may seem as if there are more bad days than good.

I also understand the examples I’ve cited here are relatively trivial compared to many in our communities.

We have people — neighbors — who hope they are able to put food on their tables and keep clothes on their back. They hope they are able to afford their heating bill during the winter months. They hope they can find a way to help a loved one fight addiction.

Times are difficult for them, and yet they keep going. They have hope that things will get better; that their lives will turn around.

That hope gives them the strength to get up each morning, to find ways to fight their circumstance and to achieve their dreams. It may not happen the way they would like, but with the needed work they know there is always a chance for them to get there.

That’s something for all of us to keep in mind during this season. Even at our lowest, when we are dealing with an emotional pain or wondering how we are going to take care of our loved ones, there is always going to be that light to guide us.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)