Like most people, I start most every morning with a certain set of hopes and expectations that range in importance.
I've become increasingly cognizant lately of the looming danger when illogical hope blends with idealistic inaction.
For example, despite all logic and evidence to the contrary, I hoped a spray tan wouldn't turn me orange.
I hoped I would emerge from the salon looking like I'd just got returned from a week in the Bahamas, not like I'd just finished a month-long binge on carrots.
As I waited helplessly for the sticky tanning solution to dry, I had a titanic sinking feeling. All the hope in the world was not going to fade the fluorescent tangerine glow that covered me from head to toe.
For all the sentimental hoopla, hope is a profoundly powerless emotion.
We can hope, hope, hope until we're blue (or orange) in the face, but it doesn't change much.
Hope means we're relying on someone or something beyond our control and that's giving ourselves far too little credit.
Hoping is fine, but we can't stop there.
If we want to see downtown revitalized, then we should shop downtown, eat at downtown restaurants, go to a show at the State Theatre. We can't wait for throngs of people to announce in unison that the spirit of downtown lives again -- we have to be the revitalization.
It's no secret that our nation's health care system has some serious ailments. Though we might not be able to fix all its problems immediately on our own, we can take steps to make ourselves healthier. No one needs a medical degree to know that a sensible diet and regular exercise result in longer, healthier lives.
There are those situations however in which most of us have no option than to be helplessly hopeful. Every time I hope the Cavaliers win, I can't run onto the court and try to drive the lane myself. If I did, I would then be hoping the Cavaliers didn't press charges.
Whether we're NBA all-stars, big league politicians, store cashiers, factory workers or reporters, we all wake up to the same world and we all chose what we will do with our time on it.
Bringing what we hope for into reality requires us to see ourselves for the agents of change we all are. No presidential candidate can deliver what we can't deliver ourselves.
Willy Wonka got it right when he sang, "If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to, do it. Want to change the world? There's nothing to it."
It's on our shoulders to move from hope to action.
Otherwise, hope on its own could just leave us a splotchy shade of Oompa-Loompa orange.