Monday, January 19, 2009

A View of Life

I'm an optimist. Really. Optimists not only see the glass as half full, they see the optimist in everyone. Even the pessimists. That's where we optimists get into trouble -- the pessimists don't want to see that the glass is half full. They'd rather pour the contents over your head and walk away while you're dripping wet, staring at a now fully-empty glass. My blog today is for the pessimists out there:

Are things really so dire? Are the stakes really so high?

Are we so arrogant to think that we are above disappointment and failure and frustration?

Are we so misguided as to think that life is all sunshine and rainbows?

I grew up with more "no"s than "yes"s, with more disappointments than gifts, and with more struggle than easy roads. I subsequently chose a career where I would see death win, tragedy happen and people break down. However, what I have learned through all of this is that we (meaning humankind) DO persevere, we DO fight even when we're losing, and we DO occasionally come out victorious.

I've also learned that you sometimes have to redefine what "victory" means. Sometimes it means your cancer is cured. Sometimes it means you die with dignity. Sometimes it means you finally get that baby. Sometimes it means you grew closer to your dad as you watch your mother die.

Life, I feel, is all about perspective. And we can choose from what angle we want to view things. That starting point is our decision to make, and it will make all the difference in how we look back on where we've come.

1 comment:

Me said...

Oh, you optimists...

I don't know if I would say that I'm a full-on pessimist, but I'm not an optimist either. I guess I tend to think that life is chaotic and hard for the majority of the people in the world. Many are trying to make sense of it and much of the world is just trying to survive.

This may sound cheesy, but I once heard someone say that hope is better than optimism because optimism looks past the bad to find the good whereas the hopeful person recognizes the crap but works for justice and peace and wholeness. It's probably a false dichotomy between optimism and hope, but it helps me nonetheless. It helps someone like me who is a borderline pessimist to not give up on the world and humanity.