The Unbearable Burden of Optimism


Ok, I admit I was watching Gray’s Anatomy last night. Yes, I am strangely addicted. Dates back to my early days of watching Emergency! Oh Gage! But I digress…
Afterwards, Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist came on and so I watched. Those networks are so manipulative! It was a little hokey, but he reminded me of some important things. Things like optimism is contagious, and accelerated through community, and is most evident when people are doing what they love. Apparently optimism is inherited too. This I found sort of interesting because of course I started wondering if I had the optimism gene. I know for a fact that Arron did not. He was a “worst case scenario” sort of person, which in retrospect seemed a wise thing to be. Worst case type is something I know I am not. And I think I wrote an optimistic book, at least one that had a touch of hope in it.
It seems optimism and hope are bedmates. I guess when I look at it that way, I am an optimist. Hopeful about things, sometimes even when I know better. But I can’t help wondering if being an optimist makes you a happier person? Or just foolhardy? After almost 8 years of widowhood, I am beginning to think the latter. See that? The pessimist in me just made an appearance.
I am not convinced that optimism or pessimism is quantifiable. I think we all have elements of both. I wish Michael had talked more about the other side of the coin, that dichotomy. I wish he had come off as being a tich more human, and less wiggly happy-shiny dude. I wanted to know more about how he got through those days when he must just curse his body for jiggling him right out of a chair, when he just wants to yell “STOP IT!” at his legs or hands, when he goes to bed so exhausted from all that extra movement. Is he still optimistic? Looking forward to a new day filled with more of the same? And more importantly, how do you phase back into optimism after having one of those moments, or years?
But I do have to say, it was nice to have an optimistic message at 10pm on a Thursday night. Something inspirational. WAY better than Brothers and Sisters. Talk about a bunch of whiny pessimists!
OK, I’m off to drink from that half-full glass. I’m kinda thirsty…

3 Comments

  1. Suddenwidow May 8, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Abby,
    Thank you for your comments on my blog. I appreciate your support and your heads up about Mother’s Day. I’ve been pushing it to the back of my mind and pretending that it won’t be a problem – that I need to save my reserves to get through Father’s Day. I remember reading in your book about you cleaning out Arron’s clothes closet. It made me wish that Austin and I didn’t share a closet so I only had to see his clothes when I wanted or needed to.

    I’m not sure about doing marvelously well but I am hanging in there. Some days by my fingernails! Thanks for your support. And have a good Mother’s Day!

    Debbie

  2. ANovelMenagerie May 9, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    I loved Grey’s Anatomy on Thursday night. I even cried.

    Sheri

  3. Daniel Mount May 10, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Abby, Are we wrong for being realists? Sometimes optimism tempered with pessimism makes a delicious soup. How boring to optimistic all the time. Ditto for pessimism. ” Head in the sky feet on the ground”

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