Some movie moments are so powerful they send chills down my spine.
A feathery-haired Luke Skywalker standing on the planet Tatooine, gazing up at two suns setting in the distance, is one of them. Paired with the iconic notes of “Binary Sunset” by composer John Williams, it’s a poignant scene of looking out at the horizon – literally and metaphorically.
The 1977 movie, originally titled Star Wars, would eventually be renamed Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.
Hope is the very thing I feared bringing into the new year.
After nine months of hope resulting in nearly nothing, I didn’t want to be crushed with disappointment again. In multiple conversations with my friends, I expressed how I was afraid to get my hopes up at any point because it seemed like I was filling my own head with delusions. Pessimism and cynicism started to poison the optimistic personality I liked to think I had.
I decided to proceed with caution.
The year began, and by the sixth day, the U.S. Capitol had been stormed by rioters and the words “Murder the Media” were engraved on one of its doors. Not the best thing to witness for a history-enthused student journalist.
Somehow, it didn’t crush me. My disappointment helped fuel the other emotions coursing through my veins and I spent the week energized and productive. When we talked about the First Amendment and the role of the press in Sidekick, I had a fiery speech about the importance of journalism and how integral it was to a functioning democracy. In my frenzy, I saw a future where things were better – better for journalists, better for the public, better for the country as a whole.
I felt hope that it would happen through the people who were on that Zoom call with me, listening to my rambles. Even if that ideal future was so far off in the horizon that I could barely see it, it was there.
It turns out that while it’s easy to lose hope for something, it’s difficult to have no hope at all. The idea of hope is fed to us through the stories we hear.
It’s in our history books, like when 13 colonies took on the strongest empire in the world. It’s in our TV shows, like when a group of element-wielding kids and the Avatar defeated a massive imperial nation. It’s in our movies, like when a ragtag team of rebels and a Jedi overthrew the fascist government. I suppose the plots all sound relatively similar when I put it that way, but the tales of underdogs rising up are the basis for why hope permeates my, and just about everyone else’s, life.
In a time where we are all looking for change to happen, hope can seem to just set us up for disappointment. Change has a habit of taking its sweet time when people are looking forward to it and going at lightspeed when it’s dreaded.
It will take a while for life to be back to normal, for all the things hampering me down to fade away, for brighter times to shine. However, that period of time is made bearable by the existence of hope: the perfect binder to combine determination and resilience and power each person to keep going.
Going into this year with high expectations won’t jinx anything. There is nothing wrong with anticipating the positive; you’ll do it anyway, whether you’re aware of it or not. There will always be a part of the human spirit that pictures a more ideal situation and thinks, “it just might happen.”
So, I will embrace it. As I sit in my room or at my desk, staring out the windows as the sky is painted with pinks, purples and deep, dark blues, my mind lingers on dreams – not delusions – for the future, for life beyond what I’ve been limited to within the confines of my house for nearly a year.
I’m not trying to fight the Empire, but I am trying to get through high school in a pandemic. My days are not always accompanied by a John Williams score, but I do have a fair amount of Green Day playing in the background. I’m not anything close to an untrained Jedi, but I am someone who is looking forward to what’s ahead of me as soon as I can get out there.
My sky may have only a unary sunset, but the horizon means just the same: the unknown future and a reason to keep hoping.
Luke Skywalker began his great adventure, his journey into the rest of the world, when he was 19. I’m holding out hope that by the time September hits, mine will have already started.
Follow Sally (@SParampottil) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.