When life seems uncertain, or we’re on the cusp of change, every decision seems daunting. Decisions that sit on the horizon of days to come become impenetrable forces that pull us out of the present. Life becomes constricted to a moment in limbo between the present and a future that doesn’t extend past whatever it is one’s anxious about.

When we expend our energy worrying about what’s to come, it’s easy to believe the only possibilities are failure or epic success. Suddenly the middle ground that’s the reality of most situations gets pulled out from beneath our feet and we get swept up in the worst-case scenario, or the pressure of success.

Believing everything is a matter of life or death and must be grand or crashing allows us to ignore the minutiae; the reality of just how mundane real life is. Often, the most significant choices in life aren’t all that dramatic, but instead are made by default. There’s no revelatory “Aha!” moment, or a real explainable answer as to why. They simply feel right.

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In moments of uncertainty with what’s to come, we can either hope or despair. Hope that things will work out and that our fears won’t be confirmed, or despair that what’s to come will leave us desolate and defeated. In hope is the much better place to wait. When we have hope and a bit of trust, the right decision will most often work itself out and fall somewhere between grand and damned.

Hope reminds us of life’s purpose and why we’ve set out on the path to pursue what we do. Without hope we’d settle, or remain lost, hurt and broken. Hope is the promise that every day is brand new. Hope is as simple as starting and as complex as getting lost in endless possibilities. Hope is the fuel that propels us through the dark. Hope is sometimes clean and orderly – a box checked at the end of the day, but more often hope is messy and requires a lot of patience. Without hope we’d never make it past our personal hardships and heartbreaks or setbacks and sadness. Our anger would rule our lives and our anxiety would paralyze us. Hope is the silver lining, the second chance, the knowing that no matter what, we’ll be alright.

Hope is something we all have, and sometimes it’s all we have. When we let it, it can guide us towards our dreams and away from our fears. The decisions that await us are often made in the moments leading up to them. All we have to do is be present in the moment rather than get lost in what’s ahead. Hope is a helpful reminder that we’re allowed to be brave and bold with our decisions rather than safe and completely sure, because no matter what, the universe will catch us. Most decisions aren’t life or death, after all. Hope is a promise we keep with ourselves that no matter what decision we make, we trust ourselves and the universe to guide us correctly.

Danz is an avid runner, reader and writer. She’s a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead who lives, works and believes in downtown Fargo. She’s a regular contributor to The Forum’s opinion pages.