Sunday, November 19, 2023

Small Pockets of Hope

"Limbo isn't exactly a place for our mental health to thrive. In the
absence of being able to look forward to things with certainty, the best
we can do is create small pockets of future hope in the meantime."

Everyone needs something to look forward to. Whether it's going on a holiday, waiting for the weekend, celebrating a birthday party, lunchbreak with a friend, or a snack in the middle of the afternoon. We especially need them in uncertain times and hard situations when things feel bleak, hopeless, or dismal. As the quote above says, "(i)n the absence of being able to look forward to things with certainty, the best we can do is create small pockets of future hope in the meantime."

Isn't that a wonderful phrase 'create small pockets of future hope'? It gives great scope for the imagination and reminds us that perhaps there is something we can do to make things a little better. Enough to carry on with for the moment.

Many of us have probably learned that skill along the way; we've learned that setting one foot in front of the other, putting our head down and just getting through whatever it is, is how we survive sometimes. The idea that we also can create pockets of future hope for ourselves, and others, is comforting. It's not totally hopeless and we don't have to be completely helpless. Life isn't always full of hard things; then there are the times when life is mundane, ordinary, bleh. We need a little something to keep the excitement in life. Well, maybe not excitement exactly, but we seem to work better, live better, feel better when we have nice things to look forward to. By 'nice' I mean that something is pleasant and still worth noticing, even when it doesn't have the out-of-this-world wow! factor.

Something else I've learned, don't use all the 'treats' up at once. Be sure to keep something in reserve. Save it for later. Because you'll need it then, too. Which means, perhaps, keeping a list of things we know we look forward to and being prepared... from the tiniest to the biggest, from immediate pleasure to delayed gratification to long-term dreams to anticipate. Make a lifestyle of creating small pockets of things we can look forward to.

"Everyone needs things to look forward to—
big things and small things,
on good days and on bad days;
things that will buoy our spirits and make
us laugh and help us feel alive."
SOPHIE BLACKALL, Things to Look Forward To

I want to mention a lovely book in my collection that got me thinking about all this: Things to Look Forward To, 52 Large and Small Joys for Today and Every Day by Sophie Blackall. Written and illustrated by the author during the global pandemic, Sophie Blackall encourages readers not to lose sight of beauty and those things that create wonder and delight. For good days and bad ones. That make us laugh and help us feel alive.

For instance, she writes about Diesel, a neighbouring dog who comes to visit her; she says, "We walk him home and then he walks us home and we walk him home again. And on the way we talk about chasing rabbits and rolling in burdock...". (In case, you're wondering, it's a weed of some kind, not...) I feel a smile breaking on my face just reading that Sophie takes joy in that furry fellow. She also mentions looking forward to learning new things: teaching children while working from home, living with people in small spaces, not to panic, to remain helpful, and learning new words. She also looks forward to watching the full moon on a dark night.

For me, the list could look something like this. I look forward to:

✧ sleeping on clean sheets
✧ browsing a new recipe or seasonal craft magazine
✧ coming home after running errands and plopping on the couch
✧ popping something yummy in the oven (or my mouth)
✧ that first mug of fresh brewed coffee
✧ a snowfall that turns the world into a fairyland

✧ planning something nice for someone - muffins, a card, a phone chat
✧ holding hands with a certain someone on a walk
✧ planting spring bulbs for next year
✧ sprucing up the place for Christmas
✧ turning on the twinkle lights as evening draws early
✧ starting that new novel I'm saving for the holidays
✧ crawling into bed at the end of the day

I'm closing with one of my favourite quotes by British novelist, Iris Murdoch: "One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats." Having a plethora of them to look forward to truly adds to the pleasure of being alive.

Wishing you a beautiful week ahead,
and Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends.

Photo credit:
(Top) Image by R-region from Pixabay
(Bottom) Photo by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life


  1. Dear Brenda,
    Hello!! You and the thoughts that you share are my “small pockets” that I look forward to. Often when I realize that Sunday has arrived, I go to your site with hopeful expectation that your thoughts will be there waiting, I look forward to these beautiful pockets.
    I wonder why? Is it because you appreciate so many of the traditions, books and cozy places, that I do? Is it that we share an appreciation of a time long ago that seems to appreciate the value of letters ? Is it that we share the joy of simple beauty found in a Peace Rose?
    I guess I am a person who has always found joy in a beautiful book, a lovely table at holiday time or an old letter found and treasured.
    So, thank you for offering your thoughts and photos that have been lovely pockets of joy for me!!!!
    Take good care Brenda . 💗🧚
    Ann from Ohio

    1. Dear Ann, You do write such lovely messages. Thank you! So glad we can share the 'kindred' journey. xo

  2. Brenda, how well you sum up our lives. Those little, sometimes tiny, moments that we can treasure ahead are so important. For me it is, like you, that first cup of coffee! followed by a planned visit from a friend, seeing the first tips of my hyacinths coming up and knowing they will gradually grow into beautiful flowers, and best of all, a new book!

    1. Those first tips of hyacinths coming up in spring - that's a lovely one to add to the list. Thank you, Barbara.

  3. I love the idea of having constant treats ready for ourselves in this sometimes dreary and challenging world. There are so many things we can think of to bring us joy. The question is, why don't we? Here's a little list of my own: 1) Opening the blinds and curtains and seeing sunshine, first thing in the morning 2) Having blueberry pancakes for breakfast 3) Making a cup of coffee and adding a tad of half and half or heavy cream 4) Decorating our spaces for whatever holiday is upon us. Right now, of course, it's Christmas. Can hardly wait to decorate. 5) Stepping on the scale and see the numbers go down 6) Brushing teeth and feeling tingly, refreshing, pepperminty taste
    Thanks for your post, Brenda. It's thought-provoking and pleasant, as always. Love your blog.

    1. Susan, I loved your list of little things that give you joy - they all are things that also make me feel happy. Thanks so much for stopping by. xo

  4. You always write the most beautiful posts my friend and include quotes I want to remember! Sweet hugs, Diane

    1. Diane, you are kind, thank you! So many of us love a good quote, don't we? I'm always glad to find something new to pass along.

  5. I love your list. They'd all be on my list, too


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo