The Bright Side

I freely admit that I’m a pessimist.  Well, that’s not quite right…maybe more of a reformed pessimist?  A pessimist who has jumped on the jolly, happy, chipper, sunshine-y bandwagon of optimism?  A defunct pessimist?

Let’s go with a defunct pessimist who has the tendency to lapse back into pessimism when she’s hungry or woken too early in the morning.

Once, long ago, in my careless youth, I convinced myself that by not hoping for the best- and expecting the worst- I could never be disappointed.   Because when bad things happened- and they would, LIKE I EXPECTED- I wouldn’t be surprised.  Which would make it hurt less when that bad thing happened.

Except…and I’ve only consciously realized this over the past few years…it does still hurt.  And the cold satisfaction that I gain from saying that I KNEW the bad thing was going to happen doesn’t take that hurt away. 

I recently read The Dirty Life.  The book was a true story- and an interesting concept in it was that the author’s husband believed in a circle of luck and goodwill.  He believes that the universe is generally a good place, and would watch out for him.  Nine times out of ten, he believed, the situation- any situation- would turn out somehow in his favor. 

That concept baffled me.  Who was he to believe that the universe cared about him?  If anything, that kind of thinking would ensure that whatever he had would be taken away!  He was just asking to be knocked down a peg or two!

I told Brisket about it- and was genuinely surprised when he told me he pretty much believed the same thing.   

Well…that kind of shut me up.

Mostly because, I want a circle of luck!  I want a circle of goodwill!  I want to believe that, in the end, it’ll all be ok- in fact, it’ll probably be even better than I expected! 

Except, it’s not something that you fall into blindly.  You can’t be gifted with a circle of goodwill.  It’s a mindset.

As much as my pessimistic habits may rail against it, I working on that mindset.  I want Li to have that mindset.  I even want Stella to have that mindset*. 

So, if you ever get caught in one of my rants on the failures of the world, feel free to nudge me in the right direction.  You may want to offer me a doughnut or a nap first though. 

* In truth, I think Stella already HAS that mindset.

Categories: Hus (Brisket), ideas, me | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “The Bright Side

  1. Anna Gall

    I totally agree. Stella does have that mindset, and most domestic animals do. It is the rare occasion that one would be pessimistic. That is what makes pets so special!
    There was a time in my life when I made the conscious effort to be optismistic, that circle of luck. It changed my whole outlook with family, friends, work, and community. And it changed the course of my life … finished my undergraduate degree with a scholarship and earned a 4.0 GPA, landed a job that gives me purpose for all the hard work, and found a wonderful man who loves me and treats me like a queen!
    I recommend that thought, that circle of luck. I think it is called “faith” in the church. Whatever it is called, it works!

  2. Abby

    One of my favorite posts you’ve ever written.

  3. VERY sound advice. From one who can still occasionally be a member of the pessimist set (I prefer to think of it as cynicism), I couldn’t agree more. I have childhood to blame. I was kind of raised expecting the worst while hoping for the best. When the worst occurred – well, you knew it was coming – so you couldn’t be that disappointed. (But deep down, you really could.) And when the best occurred, part of me still waited nervously for the other shoe to drop because it did so much of the time.

    Childhood teachings are quite hard to undo (so I think it’s uber admirable about your hopes for Li) but I’ve made lots of progress in the past decade. Well, it’s obvious most days anyway …

    And because of your title, i’m now humming Monty Python… “Always look on the bright side of life …” (whistling)

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