Based on long-term fieldwork in Northeast Brazil and the Republic of Georgia, this article explores how open-endedness can be incorporated into ethnographic analysis and writing, not as the empirical object, but as a basic condition for knowledge production. In the empirical contexts that we describe, daily life is marked by poor prospects and the absence of possibility, especially for young people. Rather than letting this guide our analyses, this article argues for the necessity of paying attention to the openness and potential of experienced moments of change. We propose that even relapses into former habits and predicaments present the potential for change on a subjective level. In the process of putting informants' stories into words and analysis, we revisit both field and text, constituting a hopeful practice similar to that of our informants.