What is HOPE?

if ONLY it came in a stick!

if ONLY it came in a stick!


The child and I have been chatting lately about the notion of HOPE.

It began when the entire idea of MOVING arose (what do you HOPE your new school will be like?) and has grown from there now that we’ve relocated (What are your HOPES for our life in Oakland?).

These conversations have sparked me to re-examine my definition of the word and how I apply it to my life.

Ive made myself consider what I hope for on a daily basis, an hourly basis (this move has been fraught with OOOH I HOPE THIS WORKS OUT! moments) and for my life as a whole.

Before the Tornado asked me to define the word I think Id have said hope, for me, meant the same as optimism.

Im an optimist (my glass isnt HALF FULL it’s overflowing & I’ll bug you incessantly to see if I can pour some in yours) so Ive always assumed I had “hope” & never worked to define the word/my hope-specifics.

Reason number 384398 how having children forces us to examine our lives in the most fantastic of ways.

As she and I chatted about her HOPES for Oakland it dawned on me theres a tremendous difference between hope and optimism.

Hope is NOT an awareness everything will workout perfectly—but an awareness however it works out is perfectly perfect for you.

Some of the stuffs she hoped for wouldnt happen here (I hope Im a bus buddy!) yet each time I’d explain (there arent any buses where we’re moving so you definitely wont be) she’d nod, say:

OK, Mama! Makes sense!

And she’d happily HOPE for something a bit different.

Reason number 384399 why Ive learned more from my child than I have through schooling and all other life-experiences.

She’s wholly hopeful.

She has a firm belief no matter how things turn out (Ill be a walking buddy mama! Ill walk kindergarten kids to school!) theyre how they’re meant to be and by virtue of that they rock!

I wrote & almost deleted this post because seriously at some point this was a fitness blog, yes?! it didnt feel as though it fit into MizFit.

Until I realized it did.

We all have HOPE for our healthy living paths. 

We all have HOPE this is the year we find & keep fitness.

I have HOPE with regards to my health (my back is better!).

I have HOPE when it comes to my fitness level (hello SANDBELLS!).

I have HOPE (the firm belief however this turns out it is as it was meant to be) about my new life.

Which brings me in a muddled, circuitous way to my current queries.  For you and still of myself.

  • By your definitions are hope & optimism different concepts?
  • Experts say HOPE is a learned concept–have you found this to be true?
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY: What are your hopes for this year? Do you believe we can live “successfully” without HOPE?


I hope–in the Tornado’s definition of the word– you’ll make time to chat about this in the comments below.


For those of you playing along at home the Tornado starts school today!  Needless to say, she’s very excited and hopeful.


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  1. says

    I think it was Dennis Waitley who wrote: “Where there are hopes, there are dreams. Where there are vivid dreams repeated, these become goals.”

    My hope for myself in the coming year is that my business becomes wildly successful. Without me having to work every minute of the every day.

    I have lots of hopes for others, but at the top of the list today is that the T *adores* her new school. (And that Mama doesn’t spend all day worrying about it.)

    • Miz says

      I LAUGH I didnt even think about worrying until I saw your comment…and I still dont :-)
      See? I am SUZIE McOPTIMIST PANTS! I know it will rock for her too.
      I hope.
      I have faith.
      and Im so painfully aware WORRYING IS PRAYING FOR WHAT I DONT WANT!

  2. says

    Sometimes hope is what keeps me going. My goals are things I can specifically work on. Hope, to me, is more about what the universe holds. I hope for safety for my husband as he travels the globe. I hope for the moments when fitness really “clicks” for my clients. I hope for health for all those I love. With hope and a firm resolve to achieve my goals I know 2013 is going to be amazing.

  3. says

    Before Tornado -via you- re explained hope, I’d just lumped it with optimism. But you’re right it is distinct. Kids have so much wisedom! I hope she loves every minute of her new school! So exciting for her!

  4. ClumberKim says

    You will find the kids’ hopes and dreams in every classroom from PK through 5 at our school. It’s something they do the first week every year. At parent night we are asked to share our hopes and dreams for the upcoming year in a message to our child. It’s anyway for teachers to get to know us as a family and another way the kids learn their thoughts are valued. It is something I always point out when I tour new parents through the school.

  5. says

    Yea for school!!!!! My HOPE for you is that by the end of the week, both of you feel a lot more settled and see a new routine forming with school, work, etc.

    My HOPE for fitness this year….to keep moving forward day after day.

    My hope in life is summed up in this verse: Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

  6. says

    If Hope and Optimism are similar then research has found you can teach/learn optimism. I think they are similar enough in theory to say they are both a positive outlook on something – but Hope may be what you have for things consider a little bit more unlikely. I hope to my Prince Charming and live happily every after. I’m optimistic I’ll at least find a warm body to keep me company lol.

  7. Shelley says

    I love this post. I hadn’t really considered the difference either, but I love how you’ve drawn the distinction. I hope for a wonderful day for both of you today, in whatever form that takes. xoxo

  8. says

    Oooh. I’ve been thinking about this in the context of belief in G-d – mine and generally. Does my belief make me more hopeful? I hadn’t thought to consider whether my belief impacts what I hope for, but now I will. :-) I think of optimism as a general outlook, while hope is for something more specific. I don’t really think of hope in terms of fitness goals, because I think those should be more definite – don’t hope for it, do it!

  9. Runner Girl says

    I struggle with this.
    Is the Tornado’s hope born of youth or learned?
    I don’t know.

  10. says

    I’m with Pamela. My goals are completely different than my hopes, but they do kind of go together. Goals WILL happen if I put in the work. I’ll work toward the goal of a PR half marathon, but I’ll hope for perfect weather on race day to help make it happen.

    Could we live successfully without hope? Sure. But would a hopeless life be worth living?

  11. says

    good question. I used to think that too. Hope meaning optimistic. But for me, i think hope means focusing on what good can come from your efforts. Yes?

    • MizFit says

      and for me, now, living with HOPE is living with the knowledge however life turns out is how it is meant to be.
      Im living with the BACKDROP of hope.
      Im choosing that.

  12. Renee says

    Interesting appraoch with hope being how things are meant to be.
    I often hope for things I am not willing yet to work toward.

  13. says

    Great post…and yes the things we learn from kids IS the center of hope! as far as your questions

    1. are hope & optimism different? Yes. Your outlook can be filled with optimism to *try* to enjoy life Hope is the passion that fuels the wishes we long for.

    2. is hope learned? NO…hope is forgotten,buried and denied under the should of, could of, etc. THAT is why we learn from kids. They haven’t attached all those things to their hopes yet

    3. can you live successfully without hope? NO. because our hopes are the silver lining of our definition of success

    4. my hopes for the year ….to be me…and continue on a consistent, daily path to honor that I buried and denied long ago.

  14. Terrie says

    Such a fantastic post, Miz.
    I think we can live without hope in horrible circumstances, but it is existing and not living.
    I also think we learn hope and optimism and it is not innate.

  15. Valerie says

    To me they’re very different. Optimism, to me, is *thinking* that things will be fine/go well/end the way I want them to. Hope, to me, means that even when I can’t see any way that they possibly could, and my treacherous mind keeps telling me that they won’t…my soul still somehow holding onto the notion that all is not lost. It’s the tiny ray of light that keeps me from being swallowed by the darkness.

    I’m not a natural optimist, though I’ve trained myself to be more so. But somehow, I’ve never lost hope…and somehow, things always work out. :-)

  16. says

    I absolutely love this post and sort of need it right now. I never would have though of hope and optimism as different. But I think they kind of are. Optimism is a general outlook I think. For me in my own definition. I see hope as more of a wish, a dream. Something you’re looking forward to.

  17. Miz says

    of course Ive been mulling this again all morning and last night after I wrote…Ive circled back around to the intermingling of HOPE and FAITH.
    At least by the Tornado’s definition :-)
    to her hope is KNOWING.
    to me FAITH is knowing.

    I may have just confused myself again…which is, I surmise, to live :-)
    part of the exploration of life.

  18. says

    “Hope is NOT an awareness everything will workout perfectly—but an awareness however it works out is perfectly perfect for you.”

    The above statement is so my faith in a nut shell :) Love your relationship with your daughter Carla, ever changing and growing!

  19. says

    Over and over again I learn that kids are wiser than adults. I am a big believer that we need to have hope in every aspect of life!

    Glad she gets to start school so soon–I HOPE it is a smooth transition for her.

  20. says

    My head is going nonstop with this amazing post!!! I LOVE IT!!! I have high hopes for Tornado that this is a good thing for her to meet friends & the way you write of her thoughts & how she sees things – you done good!!! Honestly, ya got to give yourself credit here Carla that she evens thinks this way! The you learn from her & your being her mom made her that way. :)

    HOPE – not sure what it is… I never put it with optimism… I do think we can learn to be better at it…

    I have some many hopes for many – I am not sure we can live without it. I have had so many adversities in the past & the past couple years have been really really hard too.. somehow even when I use the negative talk to myself, I still deep down have hope so I think we need it. I get HO’s yet I hope. I say I never will do this or that again yet I keep trying & Hope is there.

    I have hope for this year to just improve financially the most. I know that sounds stupid – the money BUT I want my hubby not to work so hard – I want him to have less stress at 60 years old. I hope for me that I find work I do not hate to to get up to BUT that will help us get back on track. I have hope things will be better for all my family & dear friends like you.. I have hope :)

  21. says

    There is a reason for the saying, “It’s always darkest before the dawn!”

    As for hope, it’s vastly over-rated. Like luck, a little action gets us to our goals a lot more effectively.

    Some of your commenters worry me, you, not so much :-)

  22. says

    This is so great – and a perfect way to think about “hope.” If only we could all remember how hopeful we were as children, I think we’d be a happier bunch!

  23. says

    I love the view point of a child! I am going to try and be like the Tornado and go with the flow – if one “hope” doesn’t work out that’s OK – another will!!!
    I HOPE that today is an awesome day for your daughter at school and that she comes home full of both hope and optimism!!!

  24. says

    hope to me is like having a positive attitude! all of last year (the entire thing) was a dark and grueling fight against cancer for my dad – and I was there every step of the way (still am, still hopeful!). both my dad and I are hopeful – we choose the positive attitude always, laugh and joke and make conversation in the chemo room (most patients there are happy, hopeful). the other side of that is negativity, which was present in one person but that negativity has been ejected from our lives – something else I was very hopeful about 😉

    the natural and innate positivity and hopefulness in children is something we need to hang onto ourselves – something to cultivate and practice if need be, to keep it a natural response!

    (and this is SO a miz topic! so happy you didn’t delete.) XXO

  25. says

    To me, optimism is a general attitude (i.e. a positive outlook and willingness to make the best of things) and hope is more specific (i.e. a desired outcome with the knowledge that we may not get what we want because some things are out of our control), but I think they do go together.

  26. says

    I have never thought much about this. I guess to me it means the possibility of better (hope) with the ability to adapt (optimism). They work together. I guess you could say they are walking buddies 😉

  27. says

    I love your optimism! Hubs and I talk about kids and how we want at least one and why…I see myself being very much like you – a child would give me hope and keep me positive and fun!…give me like 5 years though 😉

  28. says

    I think they’re different, but not unrelated! I’m a pessimistic optimist. I think everything is going to go wrong, but I am deep down hoping that they won’t and that it’ll all work out for the best! 😉

  29. says

    Hope is NOT an awareness everything will workout perfectly—but an awareness however it works out is perfectly perfect for you. <—- LOVE THIS!!

    Hope is not wishing things could be different, it is having faith that it will all work out the way it is meant to and you will be better for it.

    Thank you for this today!

  30. says

    Very interesting–that hope is a learned concept. That statement made me sit back and think about it, and maybe I do have experience with this being true. However, even if someone hasn’t “learned” hope, that doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t in the future. Maybe it’s something we can work on, spread and share!

  31. says

    Hope seems to me to be something deeper than optimism. Optimism is an outlook and can sometimes lead to disappointment. Hope is more settled and accepting.

    My brain is going to spin on this all day!

  32. says

    This year is not about fitness or health goals, but rather emotional goals! I hope to take care of ME and make ME happy both inside and out. I hope to be able to achieve this no matter how hard it is.

  33. says

    I am both optimistic and hopeful and fatalistic.

    I firmly believe that things happen as they are meant to happen. What happens in my life happens because I need to learn that lesson in order to become a better me. So I take it on head first (with only a minimum of kicking and screaming).

    To me optimism is a belief that things will turn out OK.

    To me, hopefulness is a belief that people will treat me fairly.

  34. says

    I like words. Hope is a very important one for me. When you’ve lived hope-less, hope is a beautiful thing. I want to give it to everyone.

  35. says

    I see hope like I do optimism.
    I hope for many things and I’m optimistic that one day they will be….in whichever form they may come in (tangible or intangible.

  36. says

    I LOVE this post Miz C!!! I see hope as knowing you “want something” and giving you something to strive for. I HOPE that I get a new job this year…so I’m dusting off my resume, changing my mindset about what I can offer, and going forward. I’m OPTIMISTIC the new job will be good. I truly HOPE Tornado’s first day at her new school is a great one. I can also say, you are raising one amazing little girl! You and Ren man should pat yourselves on the back for that! Hugs to you all.

  37. says

    Your words ring true, within me anyway. I’ll agree that hope is important, but it still seems a bit wishy-washy to me, and that’s why I prefer to use the word ‘faith’.

    To me, having faith in something means being able to see it before it realistically exists, and it’s irrelevant whether others can see your vision or not, as long as you’ve got it, it’s possible. Knowing that it’s possible is sometimes the hard part though.. 😛

  38. says

    Hope is evidence that you don’t have rheumatism in your soul. Rheumatism in the body, anyone can have. When you get rheumatism in the soul, and you’ve lost your hope, things are dire indeed.

  39. says

    For me ‘optimism’ involves a sense that something will work out; whereas the notion of ‘hope’ isn’t as certain.

    I don’t think we can live without hope. But I think we can live without optimism.


  40. says

    That’s a really interesting question. (Aren’t words and how we use them fascinating?) I looked up hope and optimism at Merriam-Webster. They define optimism as “an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome,” and hope as ” to cherish a desire with anticipation.” By those definitions hope doesn’t sound quite so sure of itself as Little Miss Optimism. :) I feel like optimism is more a state of being, it’s part of the fabric of who I am, (who I’ve chosen to become really because it wasn’t always the case.) I view hope as the send up, the active part of my optimism, putting out those waves of positive anticipation, “hoping” that just those thoughts have power to make things come true. And I kind of think they often do.
    Thanks for the post.

  41. says

    Reading your words today gave me comfort that what I HOPE for will someday work out. Thank you!

    I can’t tell you how much HOPE I needed today!

  42. says

    It’s amazing how “pure” children can be… almost as if they are a new little package that hasn’t been subjected to the “bad parts” of the world. The innocence, I guess.

  43. Adam says

    Hope is what you wish for and what you desire. Optimism is the ability to see it as possible and achieveable, no matter the circumstances.

  44. says

    You know, I feel like you can cultivate a positive mindset, changing the negative self-talk into positive self-talk, but is that hope? Is hope just positive expectation? I have hope that things will get better. Is that statement the same, though simplified, as having a positive mindset, which can be cultivated? I mean I remember when I was younger and I believed that those things I wanted would be mine. That I would accomplish certain things and I would be happy when I went to new places. These were positive expectations, arguably called hopes. Even when I was at my worst in negative self-talk and hatred of myself I still had this feeling of assurance that things would be better and I would be happy and get what I wanted. So then is this hope? If this is hope, then I say it is something you have, a certain type of internal fire maybe. Or something you can train, but is much deeper than just changing the tone of your self-talk. A mixture of confidence and positivity? I guess I’m now trying to just figure out what hope is. You’ve got me thinking a lot here. I like it 😉

  45. says

    I do see a difference between hope and optimism where by optimism is the attitude through which you view your hopes. I hope I reach my goal weight this year and I am optimistic that I will do so through hard work and discipline (vs. a pessimistic view of – but it’s pretty much impossible & I will probably fail).

    Hope + optimism are a powerful, positive combination!

  46. says

    I am a very hopeful person who is rarely an optimist. It’s a strange way to be, but I’m kind of strange so it works. I really enjoyed living in Oakland with my family. We aren’t there any longer but are nearby.

  47. Hope says

    You could definitely see your skills within the paintings you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. All the time follow your heart.

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  1. […] some fun events and trips also help a little bit. (By the way, speaking of hope, check out this great post on hope by MizFit – the recently Austin-uprooted and Oakland-transplanted super […]