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Hope is Not a Strategy

Excerpt from Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging by Connie Mason Michaelis

The title of this article says it all, but it deserves further examination. Can you imagine putting an astronaut in a space capsule and saying, “We sure hope this works?” Or how about checking in for surgery and the doctor says, “I hope I remember how to do this!” Hope is a beautiful word, but it inherently implies that the thing hoped for may or may not materialize. Hope is always a two-sided coin. Hope entails confidence, expectation, and optimism, but it also leaves the back door open for disappointment. Hope is energy projecting towards a desired end, and it may be that others are hoping for a different end (i.e., politics and sports)! But hope is not a substitute for a plan of action or a strategy. When people don’t have a plan, they simply ‘hope’ things work out. We say, “I sure hope it doesn’t rain.” You need a rainy day alternative, right?

So when it comes to issues about aging, do you have a strategy or are you just hoping you won’t have to deal with it? It’s like carrying an umbrella, if you carry it, you probably won’t need it, but if you leave home without it, it will rain for sure! Your best protection is to have a plan for all contingencies. If you had an emergency, what hospital would you tell the ambulance to go to? If you could not speak for yourself, who would speak for you? Do you have a living will and durable power of attorney? Have you toured any retirement communities or know where you would choose to get rehab therapies? Most importantly, do you have it in writing, and have you had conversations about your plans with your loved ones? Like everyone else, you are probably hoping that the emergencies will never happen but remember that hope is not a strategy!

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