Health & Wellbeing

Believing in the Green Light

What is the ‘green light’ and how does it keep our hope alive? Charlotte Lloyd explains.

There is this theory which comes from my favourite book, The Great Gatsby, which is called the green light. This is a light the Gatsby points out at the end of Daisy’s dock that flashes and is a sign of hope or rebirth but can also, in the context of the story, be a sign of death. It helps to know the hope of the future, the plans that we will make, the people we will meet and the lives we dream to live. It all sounds kind of unrealistic, dramatic, and silly even, but this way of thinking can help us to feel ok about what the future holds.

The ending of The Great Gatsby goes like this: 

“And as I sat there, brooding on the wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us.

“It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…and one fine morning…

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

From this it is clear Gatsby got so caught up in the ‘could have beens’ and the dream of the past, his life seemed to flash before his eyes. He was living in the past because it was better than where he ended up, it was trusted and therefore the manifestation of his dream ultimately caused his demise. 

But despite all of this, the green light represents a dream we all have, the one we think of almost every day. The passion that we have that we might not necessarily be living right now but what we hope to achieve. Because the green light doesn’t represent the unrealistic moments which the past holds, or rejecting change because we’re comfortable where we are. No, the green light gives us passion, fury, fire, love, and a lust for life we all want and crave. 

All of us think about ‘what if?’ What if I didn’t go into this degree? What if I moved to this city instead? All the things that happen to us are expected to teach us a lesson to help us grow, but growth is not comfortable, which is why it happens so often.

Believing in the green light doesn’t have to mean a sorrowful ending. It can actually mean the path we’re following is still green and abundant, still flourishing, and what we’re meant to do will find us when we believe in the green light. 

It is why we love the endings of books and movies. The closing paragraphs, series finales, remind us that there is always beauty to be found in the saddest farewell, because of the rebirth which will be more enchanting and align much more with our values than anything that passed us by.

This theory seems kind of flimsy, untouchable, unrealistic, and dreamlike, but that’s the beauty of it. Moving away from the need for things to be set in stone, black, and white, to trust in something which isn’t made up in our imagination.

The green light is the one thing which can allow us to live knowing we will eventually end up where we are meant to be. The bad news is that nothing lasts forever but the good news is that nothing lasts forever. Read that again.

Knowing nothing which is meant for you will ever pass you by and you are exactly where you’re meant to be. Trusting in the process. 

Feature Image: Photo by Andrew Sharples on Unsplash

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