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Never lose hope (Caribou song)

In the autumn of 2000, after one year of studying physics, I lost motivation to continue and decided to study geography instead. But since academic year had already begun, I had to wait until next October. In the meantime I was free to do whatever I wanted, but that proved to be harder than I expected.

The major part of my identity of that time was being a student, and getting good grades was something that I was proud of. So, all of a sudden I was left without that. At the same time I was miserably unsuccessful in just about any other area of my life. I remember that I was in love with one girl I knew from high school, but she didn’t have any interest in me, though she was very friendly.

Because of all these things I became sort of depressed and felt like a complete failure. This culminated in me writing a poem that expressed how I felt at that time. Since that was in the winter of 2000/01, the imagery is a bit “snowy”:

* * *

The Call For Green Grass

For a few hours it dawns – yet there is no sun.

Silent clouds of horror begin to scatter

White crystals of despair again.

White. Everything is white.

Lost caribou trips on white snow in vain.

In the whiteness of the distance there appears a string of dark little dots…

* * *

The informal title of this poem is “Caribou song”, which was the name of the file on my computer in which I saved it. I had a few other poetic attempts in my life (until I discovered that I have no particular talent for poetry). This poem is by far the best of anyone I ever wrote. Because it came from within and because I was honest.

If you look at the end you see that it is deliberately open. What do the dark little dots represent? Could be anything. Maybe it is a pack of wolves, but could also be the herd of the lost caribou. The future is unknown. But for as long as you are alive there is still hope for you.

*Here is actually my 2011 English translation. The original poem in Slovene language can be found here.

Thoughts on Hope and Action

I have recently seen a quote in a comment section of a video on YouTube that was very, very wise:

“Hope is both good and bad. If you use hope to inspire action then it’s good, if you use hope as an excuse not to take action then it’s bad.”

It couldn’t be said any better. Only action is what counts and hope can help you persist when the road gets difficult and rain starts pouring down. However, building castles in the sky, daydreaming about wishes that you have, but without doing anything TODAY to move you somewhat closer to them, is the wrong use of hope. It is actually avoidance, running away from reality into a dream word, into an imagined future.

The problem with imagined future is that it never actually comes. The future comes, but it isn’t the future that you have imagined. Because if you do not take action to change something in your environment or in yourself, then the future will be the same old, same old. The catch is that you have to act TODAY! Not tomorrow, not next week or when the time is right. The time is always right to do the right thing. If you mentally postpone action into the future it will stay there – in the future. Forever.

That doesn’t mean that you can do everything today and reach your goals in a single day. But it means that you have to start today. Perhaps, the thing that you can do today is WRITE A PLAN of actions that you will have to do in order to reach your goal. Or you can go to a bookstore and buy a book that you will have to read to learn the skills that you need in order to reach your goal. Whatever it is, do it today. Put yourself into the mental state of “it starts today”.

However, you will not do it if you do not have a crystal clear vision of your goal. You can’t start acting if you do not even know what your end result is. Imagine that you want to write a book. That was your wish for a long time. And now you hear me saying that you have to start today. Ok. Today is action time. You will start writing a book. Great. Awesome. So… now what?

If you don’t even know what kind of book you want to write, can you really do anything productive? You would have to start with: Dear reader, this is my first book. I have no idea what it will be about, but have a little patience (or skip a few pages)…

You have to ask yourself: Do I want to write fiction or non-fiction? Do I want to write a book about animals or a book about plants? In the first case you would go to the zoo for the inspiration. In the second case you would go to botanical garden. If you don’t even know what kind of book you want to write, then it should be your top priority to figure it out, because you can not do anything else until you have a clear vision of what you want.

In my life I have often been too general about what I wanted. I wanted many things, but none of them very much. I rarely had any real, concrete goals (with the exception of getting good grades in school) – only wishes and imaginings and hopes. I suppose that’s why I have been running in circles all of my life until now.