Never give up. The darkest hour, they say, is always the hour before the dawning. I, sometimes, find myself overwhelmed by the forces of circumstance but I always remind myself that it is not a bottomless pit of despair. I will climb out of it, eventually. No matter how long it takes, I know I will find joy. Again. I always have.

My sister once laughed at my sense of optimism. I was window shopping at an airport duty-free shop for accessories to a device I didn’t own yet. Well, I hoped to own such a device. And eventually, I did.

I live on hope.

So many decades ago, I was shopping for swimwear abroad when a very nice salesperson shooed me out of the one-piece section and ushered me into the world of two-piece swimwear.

I couldn’t imagine wearing these in Cebu. Then, women who showed skin were looked upon like scarlet women. But I was persuaded to try one on and convinced to buy it.

I took home my first bikini and safely stored it in my closet. It took me two years to finally wear it in public. But every time I looked at it, I was filled with hope—that one day, I would find the courage to wear it. One time, my niece saw me laying out several pairs of hiking pants on my bed. “You bought new ones again? Don’t you have so many already?” My niece saw the defeat on my face and gently asked, “They don’t fit you anymore?”

I nodded with a trembling lip. It was a difficult time for me.

Some 15 years ago, I started piling on the pounds. Unwanted and unhealthy weight gain can bring your spirits down. There was a time in my life when I had to keep buying new clothes because the current ones didn’t fit me anymore.

But you know something? I hung on to my clothes—the clothes I could no longer wear because I clung on to the hope that, one day, I would get to wear them again. I have, through the years, hung on to my old favorites. Even when hope was dim that I would ever fit into them again.

I guess holding on to them was a symbol of hope for me—that one day, I would get to that place again. There are clothes I wore on vacations with my niece when she was still a toddler. She is now 28. I still have those clothes today. And it gives me so much joy that I can wear them again.

Sometimes, we let ourselves go. Sometimes, we fall off the wagon. Sometimes, we lose track of where we’re going. Don’t lose hope. I still buy stuff on sale that don’t look great on me at the time I buy them.

I just tell myself—one day, I’m going to look great in them. And then I get to work to get there.

As we age, we often feel lost, uninspired, unseen. We feel it is too late to start again. Or to start anything. You’re wrong. Don’t write yourself off. You’re not dead. Yet. It’s never too late to shine. Again.

At your worst, hold on firmly to your faith. Never lose hope.