I have been told, I am more optimistic than most. I have heard luck follows me, or there’s something in my genes that really can’t wipe this smile off my face most days.
Although I don’t quite agree with this assessment, there are some days where there is a different pep in my step than most. Taking a cross country flight gives me a unique moment of introspection. As I enjoy the calming pleasures of a refreshing midflight drink, I figured I would take a shot at giving a lesson in optimism, my own qualifications to do so be damned. 🥂
As you can see, it is quite clear that there’s one thing that sets the Optimists apart from the Pessimists of the world. And that is… Well… Let’s see. Actually, I am not quite sure to be honest.
What if I told you, the difference between the Optimists and Pessimists is their difference in “expectations” and “hopes”? Pessimists expect the bad and Optimists hope for the good! From this perspective, Optimists and Pessimists aren’t opposites at all. In fact, there is a balance between how each approaches the day, a balance that elevates life in a way that neither alone can truly offer.
Take a trip with me down memory lane for a moment.
One of my favorite movies of all time, I am embarrassed to say, is Finding Nemo. In fact, this is a movie that I had less than ZERO interest in ever watching; I was certain it would be beyond awful! It was the year 2003 (or something like that, these things are foggy). My family’s matriarch (mother dearest) forced my older brother to take me to the movies with him. We took the public transit trek to the theatre in nice part of the city, with plans to watch the latest masterpiece of the Blade series 🧛🏾♂️ (shout out to Wesley #darkskinnedclub) as promised. My petite athletic frame (bro would say scrawny, but I digress) exuded excitement to see the obvious best film of the year! After arriving, my dearest older brother and his friend near immediately noticed some classmates of the fairer sex. A rush of hormones only known to high schoolers must have taken over, because before I knew it, my day was ruined thanks to a conversation that lasted all of 30 seconds.
- Hormone Zombie Brother and Thirsty Friend: “Hey! What are y’all doing here? Bout to watch something?”
- High School Girls About To Ruin my day: “Yea! We are about to watch Finding Nemo!!! What about you?! Is that your brother!?!?!”
- Stunning Middle Schooler Me: “Yea! I’m his brother, we are about to watch BLADE! IT’S GONNA BE AWE—“
- Judas (a.k.a. my brother) and Brutus (a.k.a. his BFF): “O? Yea! Guess so. This is my kid brother. Taking him to watch Finding Nemo, maybe we should get seats next to you two”
- Demise Instigators (H.S. Girls): *giggles*
- The Victim of a Heinous Crime (Me): *confused, and seething with anger*
Following this moment of despair, and after having some staunch words with my brother about his betrayal, I begrudgingly found myself sitting in a crowded theatre to watch a children’s movie about an animated fish, Finding Nemo. I EXPECTED nothing less than the worst experience of my life regardless of AMC’s final announcement to “Enjoy the Show”. Honestly, Pessimists could only hope for this level of despair and certainty about life’s cruelty.
In fact, I was not wrong! To my despair, I was delightfully surprised with the wit and humor of the critically acclaimed comedic duo, Marlin and Dory, in this cinematic Masterpiece. To my dismay, I literally, could not, stop, laughing; my own body betrayed me for all to see! I hated every second of the humorous assault these obviously “elevated” sea turtles and “woke”‘ sharks brought to the big screen. In a bizarre twist of fate, my Pessimism brought about joy of the highest heights, well beyond any joy that Optimism ever had afforded me.
Today’s lesson is even when you expect the worst, it’s ok to hope for the best. Life is full of fleeting moments of joy. Sometimes these last only a few seconds of your day, and other times they will last 100 minutes with credits. Of course, there will be times that are not exactly joyful, there’s no changing that. However, those moments are the absolute best at sling-shotting you into the most unexpected bliss of the highest heights; trust in them like Marlin trusted in Dory.
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