Living with hope, my word for 2023

Nov 2, 2023 | 16 comments |

When I chose ‘hope’ as ‘my word’ for 2023, I had no idea how relevant it would be.

However, I also didn’t anticipate the challenges of living my life with hope throughout a succession of difficult months.

On X (formerly Twitter) recently, another author asked (paraphrasing) if anyone else felt an imminent sense of “doom.”

Judging by the replies, I’m not alone in feeling more anxious than usual.

Even a cursory glance at the daily news headlines is an exercise in doomscrolling with little to no uplifting content.

And in my own life, this year so far has been tough.

From personal and family upheaval to writing turmoil and the full force of Murphy’s Law (anything that can go wrong will), it’s been far from smooth sailing.

Like Floppy Ears on a cold morning, I often want to burrow under a blanket and stay there!

Yet, guided by hope, I’ve found encouragement from unexpected sources, moved forward by taking small steps and learned not to underestimate the power of a hopeful outlook.

All these have helped me find blessings amongst chaos and inspiration, including from those who’ve gone before me, via stories of struggle, courage, resilience and resourcefulness.

However, and along with world news, this week has been especially grim.

With painful tendinitis (tendonitis) in my left (dominant) arm, I’m on a book deadline but can only write for a limited time and solely by wearing an arm brace.

I have more than my usual mum-life worries for English Rose at university.

Floppy Ears has a persistent ear infection, the car trunk (boot) latch broke, and a specialist medical referral I’d counted on was declined.

Yet, reading Lisa Schroeder’s See You on a Starry Night, a 2018 middle grade story about the power and magic of friendship, has given me reassurance and hope.

Several references to “everything working out in the end” were a poignant reminder of my late dad.

Since that was one of his oft-repeated phrases, for a moment, on the cusp of what would have been his birthday, I felt his presence and familiar love and care.

Coincidence, perhaps, but I prefer to think it was more a sign of hope when I needed one.

For other hopeful reading, check out this list from the UK edition of Good Housekeeping.

To quote American romance author Susan Elizabeth Phillips, “Life’s too short to read depressing books!” And as she also says at the end of her author bio, “Now go hug someone special.”

While we can’t solve the world’s problems, a hug can give solace in hard times. So from me to you, virtual hugs and hope as we continue on together.


  1. Rosey Lee

    Thank you for this hopeful post. And thanks for the virtual hugs too. Sending them right back to you!

    • Guddi Sharma

      Hope is the key 2023 word. Thank you for sharing your thoughts

      • Jen Gilroy

        You’re welcome, Guddi. I appreciate you reading and commenting on my blog.

    • Charlotte Nau

      Thanks all hugs accepted! My husband battled prostate cancer with 40 radiation treatments over the summer. He is now in remission. Retirement has not been what we thought. We r both subbing in our small school system to keep us busy. We love it!

      • Jen Gilroy

        You’re welcome, Charlotte. I’m sorry to hear that your husband has had a cancer battle but am glad he’s in remission. What a tough time for both of you. Thinking of you and sending virtual hugs. I’m also sorry for this delayed reply. I missed various comments on this blog post and have only just spotted them!

    • Jen Gilroy

      You’re welcome, Rosey. I’m sorry I missed your kind comment earlier. Thank you for the hugs. Sending more to you in return!

  2. Lynn Butkus

    Thank you for this reminder that hope is everywhere, in all sorts of little things. Hope English Rose, Floppy Ears and you are back on an even keel soon.

    • Jen Gilroy

      You’re welcome, Lynn. A number of blog post comments seemed to get ‘lost’ on my view of things so I’m sorry for the very delayed reply. While 2023 has been a hard year, I continue to hold to ‘hope’ and yes, English Rose, Floppy Ears and I are now doing much better.

  3. Lynn F

    Thank you for writing this, Jen. Being so positive and hopeful, when life has other ideas. I have started telling myself, I am blessed, even when life seems so, unkind. Take care. xo

    • Jen Gilroy

      You’re welcome, Lynn. I’ve just discovered that I missed replying to a number of blog post comments, yours included. I appreciate your thoughtful comment and like you I’ve learned to count my blessings, especially in hard times. You take care too. xo

  4. Jan

    Thanks for the reminder that there is always hope.

    • Jen Gilroy

      You’re welcome, Jan. I appreciate you reading and commenting on my blog.

  5. Connie Behrens

    thank you

    • Jen Gilroy

      You’re welcome, Connie. Thank you for reading.

  6. Jennifer Wilck

    I truly believe hope gets quashed by fear, and I keep trying to remind myself that I need to focus on hope when i’m fearful. Wishing you peace and hope as well, Jen.

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Jennifer. I too am trying to focus on hope when I’m fearful. *Hugs*


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