I’m a history nut. Learning about the past, how it affects us today, and the people that played a role in it is intriguing to me. Recently I sat down and watched Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl. What an amazing documentary! “It’s the story of heroic perseverance — of a resilient people who, against all odds, somehow managed to endure one unimaginable hardship after another to hold onto their lives, their land and the ones they loved.” (Excerpt from Kenburns.com)
Dust Bowl farmers were called “Next Year People” because they were holding on to the hope that “next year would be better”… next year’s crops, next year’s rainfall, next year’s income. The resiliency and determination of the farmers as told by interviews with their children was truly inspirational! After watching it, I couldn’t help but do a lot of introspection. I asked myself questions like: “could I hold onto hope like they did?” and “would I keep doing work or would I give up?”
The definition of hope in the Mirriam-Webster dictionary is “to cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen or be true.” I personally think it’s this plus the recognition that there’s more than our own power and might at work. There is a Higher Power in charge. Whether or not you believe that Someone else is ultimately at work, hope tells us that we also have a job to do. Hope is like a double shot of espresso and gives us that boost of energy we need to keep going.
Hope is not:
- a “when all else fails” attitude
- a fake happiness
- a fake optimism
- a “last-ditch” effort
- a “last resort” mindset
- rainbows, butterflies, and unicorns
- The platform that motivates us to take positive and proactive action.
- answers the questions: “why bother?’, “what difference will this make anyway?”, and “is there more to this than what’s happening now?”
- tells us our life is worth living.
- tells us that our work is worth doing.
- tells us that our dreams are worth pursuing.
- tells us that we have a purpose.
- fuels our passions and compels us to find a cause greater than ourselves.
- energizes us to get busy creating the life we want.
Having hope is the base to where we start living out our dreams, passions, our calling, our cause, our goals, and our aspirations. The Next Year farmers in the documentary didn’t stop working. They were passionate about farming the land and passing it on to the next generation. In spite of the dust and the drought, they continued to plant when they could. They even got additional jobs if they could find them so that they could feed their family. They did what they had to do because they continued to believe that next year things would get better.
- are grateful. They give thanks for what they have, but they are not content if they know they can do better. They take proactive action.
- dream big dreams. They believe that if the world is going to get better then they need to keep dreaming, take action, and be part of the improvement.
- don’t accept the status quo. They believe if they want an upgrade in life then they need to do something about it.
- are curious. They are always exploring ways to make the world and things around them better.
- see setbacks as lessons. They know that the trials and tribulations that come will be part of the learning process. They know that what they go through is what they grow through.
- support others. Not only do they see the best in store for themselves, but they also see the best in store for others. They wish well for others.
- avoid thinking about the negative. They know they can’t control all things, but they choose to make the most of what they can control and then progressively move forward little by little from there. Moving forward means there will always be hope for a better tomorrow.
Next Year People
We just reached the one-year anniversary of the world shutting down due to covid. To say that this past year has been an emotional roller coaster would be an understatement. Schools shutting down, working from home, the economy taking a nose-dive, sickness, deaths, cancellations, fear, anxiety, depression and so much more! We also had a doozy of a year filled with divisive politics, riots, protests, and an increasing amount of “cancel culture” headlines.
Despite the sobering events of the past 12+ months, I desperately want to be a person that holds onto hope. I want to be part of a modern-day group of Next Year People.
I’m not going to fake happiness and optimism. I’m going to be genuinely happy and look at the future with expectation!
I’m not going to show weakness and sit by passively. I’m going to do my part to make the world and my community a better place!
I’m going to carry on, follow my passions, know that I have a God-given purpose, and find causes that are greater than I am. Why? Because life is worth doing! Because life is worth living! Because next year things will be better!
Will you join me? Will you be grateful, but not settle for the way things are right now? Will you get curious and explore ways on how we can make the world a better place? Will you avoid negativity, support others, and see your setbacks as learning tools as you move toward the future? Send me a note and let me know your answers to my questions! I hope you say yes to all of them!
Feel like things are a little out of sorts in your life? Think you have room for improvement, but don’t know where to start? Join the PERSONAL GROWTH Book Challenge coming up in our group The Confident Woman Club over on Facebook. Not on Facebook, but still interested in the challenge? No worries! You can contact me here and join in on the fun.