I want you to live for the future.
There may be nothing left for you…
But despite that, you must look forward and walk a path of hope, trusting that it will sustain you when darkness comes.
– King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule (The Wind Waker)
We’ve all heard the saying before. Almost every one of us knows that person who lives for the moment. One person that “lives every day as if it was their last”. That one person who thinks only for the present, caring not for the past or the future. That is one of the extremes. There are also those who live grounded in their past. Those who cannot let go and dwell in times gone by. There is, however, also a third extreme. People who can’t handle looking into what the past has brought them and who have nothing to hold on to for the present. These are the people that must place their hope in the future.
Life is an experience of ups and downs. There are good times, there are bad times. Perhaps it is that we take the good times for granted, because when the bad times hit, they do so with such force. They may come from the death of a friend or family member. It may be because of changes taking place in your life. It could be because of regret and the chances that you missed. Perhaps failure. Maybe it is simply because you are not content with yourself, or your appearance. Outwardly people might not notice, but inwardly you are distraught. The past haunts you with your bad memories which linger into the present. If there is hope, it lies in the future. Just like in Geroge Orwell’s literary classic, “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, hope may seem faint, but it lies far off in the distance – in the future.
Sadly, many people cannot look to the future. Suicide rates in western cultures are currently at approximately 11 people per 100,000 each year, with males significantly more affected than females. Staggeringly, depression rates of western cultures are also up to 10%. People may feel as if there is nothing to live for at the moment. Everything that they had may even be gone. People of religious faith place all of their hope into the distant future. Even people without religious faiths can learn to do similar. Your hope may not be placed in something as complex as heaven, for example, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t look to a closer future. One year. Five years. Ten. It doesn’t mean that you can’t hope.
Tetra and Link in the concluding moments of The Wind Waker are faced with similar circumstances. The past, the kingdom of Hyrule, is washing away and they must either move on, or be consumed by it. The children do not dwell in the past; they choose to return to the world above, as the past drowns. However, they don’t live for the moment either and stay dwelling in the present. Instead, they look to the future. With the help of the pirates, immediately they set out to look for the land that may be the new Hyrule. Those who have played Spirit Tracks know that eventually the children did find and establish a new land. A new Hyrule.
The words of King Daphnes are not only relevant to the young protagonists, but also to the current predicament many people in our society find themselves in. Even if the children can’t find a new land. Even if you can’t find something to give your life meaning and purpose for the moment, you must look to the future. You must walk a path of hope that will sustain you through the hard times that ensue. Place one foot before the other and keep moving forward. Despite what your circumstances are, others want you to live for the future.
It comes down to a matter of perspective. Daphnes tells the children that he has “scattered the seeds of the future”. The interpretation of this is your choice: pessimistic or optimistic. You can look at it as the seeds have been scattered and are beyond retrieval. That there is no hope. Alternately, you can be optimistic. Know that the chances for a brighter future are out there. The seeds are planted. All they need is time to grow. We must approach the future with Tetra’s optimism. That “we can find it! We WILL find it! The land that will be the next Hyrule!” To you Hyrule could be anything. A partner. A purpose. Somewhere to belong. Anything.
For the present, if you can hold on to nothing else, hold on to life. Look to the future. Let the Hyrules of the past wash away, but don’t be washed away with them. Look to the new land, to the new Hyrule. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Each day on the journey to the new Hyrule can be gloomy and marred with more woes, just like Link and Tetra found themselves in throughout Phantom Hourglass. But they persevered, and in the end they got there. Cast aside your past and present grievances: live for the future!