“I ain’t into hope,” said Earl, the old hoodoo man, “it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.” We were walking along the banks of the River Lea in South Tottenham, North London. The sun was shining, and despite it being mid-April, temperatures were hitting 70F. Which might have explained why Earl was in one of his philosophical moods. That, and he was smoking a huge, cigar-sized joint.

“But people have to have hope,” I said, “otherwise life wouldn’t be worth living.”

Earl shook his head. “That’s where you wrong. See, hope is nothing more than peering into the future. Wanting this or that to happen. Or not wanting such and such to happen.”

He took a long draw on his spliff, taking the THC-imbued smoke deep into his lungs, then blowing it out in great clouds.

“Thing is,” he continued, “the future ain’t under your control. Some things will work out, others won’t. But people spend a lotta time worrying about it, and that’s coz they busy hoping.”

“Bit of a cynical view,” I said.

Earl laughed. “Nope. It’s just the opposite. You better living in the moment than spending all your time hoping. Make your plans for the future. But don’t attach yourself to them, hoping they work out, or hoping something won’t happen to wreck your plans. Savour the now – you’ll be much happier in life.”

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