I'm a glass-is-half-empty kinda gal. I don't know why I'm that way. It's not as if some horrible set of events took place in my youth (that I can remember...maybe I have that thing where you repress a negative event from your childhood and then only remember it once you're hypnotised and then you're like, "Ohhhhh, I remember that one time I was kidnapped by aliens and they put a tracking device in my brain. True story...when I was a kid, I watched a talk show about that...and was freaked out for months that I was going to be abducted by aliens. It never happened.) that taught me to never expect the best because the worst was always eminent.
It is in my nature to be a negative person. And I have come to accept it as part of who I am.
I joke and say that if I expect the best and the worst happens, I become dejected. If I expect the worst and the worst happens, I'm right (which I really like to be). If I expect the worst and the best happens, I'm pleasantly surprised. So, in a weird kind of way I'm actually an optimist in pessimists clothing. That, and my sense of humour is really sarcastic. It's hard to be sarcastic when you see the good in everything. You can't make a rip-roaring comment about someones flood pants if you just think it's really smart for them to be so prepared. You can't joke about someones abnormally long nose hair if you think it might be really handy in catching all those horrible airborne diseases.
I have a wonderfully optimistic security guard at the building where I work. He's an older, Sikh gentleman (and I think Sikhs are second only to Amish in their peaceful, optimistic ways). He always sees the side of life that I tend to miss.
Every year in the middle of this concrete jungle I work in, a family of sparrows sets up camp in the rafters of our roof. It works out well for them because it is sheltered from the elements and they have a fierce advocate for their safety in me. (I'm a pessimist, not a cruel worthless villain). So they sh** all over our work area, a little sh** never killed anyone, right? At least a little bird sh** hasn't, that I know of. They're so darn cute and it's so incredible to watch nature take its course. This year momma and papa had four (4!!) little babies to take care of, and we watched as they slowly made their way out of their nest and learned to fly...while working very hard, of course.
One baby bird must have gotten a little overwhelmed with the whole plight of flight (hahahahhahaha) and made its way inside our building. I tried my darnedest to get this little guy out of the building. I tried to speak sparrow, I used a flash light to attract it, I threw things at it (okay, not really...but maybe that would have worked...) all to no avail. This little guy hung out in the rafters high in the ceiling, refusing to exit the facility by any of the 30 some odd 8' X 20' roll up doors in the building. This is probably because the rafters inside the building look so familiar to what it had known it's whole life. (I'm sure there is some amazing life lesson there, but gah!! who has the time??) Finally I resigned myself to the fact that this was survival of the fittest at work and if this bird was too dumb to follow all the signs to safety, then it was destined to die. End of story. Although I did consider calling 911 or the SPCA...
A full two days after the last sighting of our little dumb friend, my security guard comes into my office with a huge smile on his face, "I haven't seen the bird all day!!"
"I know," I said sadly. "I'm pretty sure it's dead."
"No, why would you say that??" He implored. "I came to say I am sure it found it's way safely out and has been reunited with his family!!!"
We'll never know who was right, unless my office starts to smell really bad in the next few days and then we'll know that I. was. right. (which I'm pretty sure I am...) But it really made me think, why would I immediately choose the worst case scenario? Am I a realist? Or am I really that pessimistic?
While wars rage around the world, children die from famine, and horrible diseases like cancer take lives well before their time...
I AM SO FORTUNATE
...because none of these things have touched my life. I have so much to be thankful for. I should so be seeing the glass as half full. I wonder if by being a pessimist rather than an optimist I am missing out on all the blessings that surround me.
That seems like a really ungrateful thing to do.
Wait. Was that a pessimistic thing to say?
This is going to be a huge change in thought pattern for me - not just finding, but expecting - to see the good instead of the bad.
And how do you see the glass?
The other evening, Q and I had dinner at a dear friends house. It was a beautiful summer evening, so we ate outside. We became hosts to a few eager wasps who wanted to join in on the feasting. Of course, the boys were terrified. I also have this completely irrational fear of wasps, but tried to hide it because it's not cool to be an adult terrified of these little insects. The boys tried to hide, move away, they shrieked in fear...until my friend's husband said, "I tell you what boys, the first one stung gets $50.00."
It changed everyones perspective (except mine, because let's face it, those little effers hurt when they sting, and it's going to take a whole lot more than $50.00 for me to throw myself in the middle of danger like that). Now the boys purposely tried to put their arms in the path of the swarming wasps - okay, okay, they weren't exactly swarming - trying everything they could do to get the wasp to sting. In the end no one got stung, which is how it would have turned out no matter our perspective, but as soon as it became a positive experience instead of a negative one, the fear was gone, and the kids had smiles and shrieks of happiness.
Hmmmmm...I wonder, is this another life lesson, if only we choose to see??