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When I read a novel, I know that I’m engaged in a vicarious experience—I get to witness from a safe distance as the characters are challenged. When the going gets tough, how do they respond? Dig deep and persevere? Crumble and give up? Or something more complex and nuanced in between? Regardless of the outcome, I expect adversity in the story, and would be disappointed if there were none.

In real-life nonfiction, however, I’ve always hoped to avoid adversity altogether if possible—give me a life with no potholes or bumps, please. Lately, however, I’ve been thinking that this nonfiction hope of mine is, ironically, fictional. Adversity isn’t avoidable, it’s inevitable. But does that then mean that hope is useless? Or does it just need to be reframed—from a wish for unattainable perfection, to the belief that I can handle adversity when it comes along. If, by this new definition, there was a Hope Scale—0 being none, and 10 being complete confidence in dealing with whatever life throws my way—where am I on it at any given time? Where are you? Hopefully there is hope in all of our lives.